Kenyon Salo’s Message Missed its Mark with the CHC Audience


On Monday the 11th of February, Kenyon Salo was welcomed to the Cape Henry community to speak to the high school, faculty, and 8th graders. Salo, who pursued his dreams relentlessly and has become not only a famous speaker but also a professional skydiver, was invited to Cape Henry, in addition to most other high schools around the Virginia Beach area. High expectations were set when the student body and faculty heard Kenyon would be talking for nearly an hour and a half, yet those expectations were not met by the reactions Salo provoked from the audience.

Many people got the impression that he was self-centered, such as Mrs. Gregory, a Chemistry teacher at Cape Henry, and Reiley Beers, Class of ‘20. In Anne Porter Hudgins’ words, “he disregarded other people’s situations and only spoke of himself.” Beers disliked when he told the audience, through the metaphor of the ladder, “to disobey instructions” and “put an environment that is important to disobeying those instructions aside.” Dajour Rucker, ‘19, gave a fair point, mentioning that he might’ve been a good speaker for “a different audience.” Kenyon was speaking to a group of students who are not yet self-sufficient and are still in school. Many concluded that his message was not for the Cape Henry community, as everyone’s reactions were either confused or negative – even the faculty didn’t seem to enjoy him. Mrs. Gregory commented that “he was not that effective for an audience of high school and eighth-grade kids” and was “talking very irresponsibly.” She says “he did not get his point across well” and “didn’t seem to impact the audience.”

There still were bright moments to his visit; however, the highlights of his visit for Anne Porter Hudgins, ‘20, was the “sense of community he made me and the audience feel when he picked random students to stand up, tell their peers of their dreams, and have their peers applaud them.” Thankfully, there was a light in the seeming dark of Salo’s overall presentation.