Distinguished Speaker Kenyon Salo Brings Mixed Reviews


The second Distinguished Speaker of the 2018-2019 school year, Kenyon Salo, the self-proclaimed, “James Bond of Motivational Speaking,” told his story to CHC students from Grades 8-12 on Monday, February 11, 2019.  After realizing that a career in hotel management was not the right path for him, Salo left school and moved to Colorado to become a professional snowboarder. Now, Salo is one of only five members of the Denver Broncos Thunderstorm Skydive Team and is seen soaring through the sky at every home game.  He also travels for speaking engagements, sharing three core ideas with his audiences: 1.) create more experiences; 2.) share more stories, and; 3.) live more fulfilled. Salo’s suggestion on how to do it all? Check items off your bucket list and “give back to others without any expectation of getting something in return.”

While some students and faculty enjoyed hearing what Kenyon Salo had to say, others did not.  Trevor Kidd (‘20) explained he liked Salo’s presentation because “it was interactive, we weren’t just sitting there and listening to him.”  Contrastingly, Tina Zou (‘19) said, “I felt like his speech was more for Lower School or Middle School students. The little activities he asked us to do, [like sitting next to a person you didn’t know or saying things about yourself] felt a little childish for Upper School.  If he had emphasized deeper meanings for the activities, they would’ve been better.”

One of the messages Salo tried to impress on the audience was to make an effort to complete the bucket list item students shared with their neighbors within the next twelve months.  Gary Sheng (‘21) shared his opinion about the school’s speaker, saying “I understood his message, but I don’t think it was very realistic,” considering it would be difficult for a high school student to travel the world and complete their bucket list items within the next year.  

Disagreeing with Gary, Anna Buba (‘21) said, “Some people said you can’t really achieve your goal, but I don’t think they really understood the essence of Salo’s message.  You can actually do the little things on your bucket list, and I took his lesson to heart. In the next twelve months, I’d like to complete my goal, which is to write more songs.”

Giving an adult perspective on our speaker, Mr. Torch (Upper School Math) said, “The presentation definitely got me thinking about my own life.  Most times, I feel like we’re just going through the motions. In terms of trying new things and putting myself out there, I feel like I should do more of that.  I’m not really sure what that means for me though and how I could do that since I’m still getting settled at Cape Henry.

When asked about what Kenyon Salo was like as opposed to the school’s first Distinguished Speaker, Izzy Ezagui, Mr. Torch said, “It’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges.  Izzy made the best of his situation from his difficult experiences as a soldier, while Salo had to come out of his shell and make his own experiences. I do like the fact that he became an inspirational speaker because he recognized that we have bucket lists and try to accomplish them. Having someone like that come in was fantastic and it can help us get out of the day-to-day parts of life.”

With only three and a half months before school ends for the year, it will be interesting to see who is next in the Distinguished Speaker series.

For more information about Kenyon Salo, visit his website at kenyonsalo.com.