AMHERST, N.Y.(WIVB) – What would you say to your teenage self if you had the chance to go back in time and impart some wisdom?
97Rock DJ Larry Norton had to think about that as he prepared the commencement address for Amherst High School’s Class of 2014.
Norton was invited to give the commencement address for Amherst High last weekend 40 years after he graduated from the same high school. He said he was very moved by the invitation to speak during the year that he will be attending his 40th high school reunion.
During the ceremony in the Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo, Norton told the graduates that if he had the opportunity to speak to his teenage self he would say, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay.”
Watch Norton give his commencement address below:
He said the secret to success is persistence. Norton told them about the twists and turns in his radio career, which stretches back to his teenage years. He believes the key to happiness is “doing what you love.” He urged the graduates to take risks, and he said, “don’t be afraid to fail.”
Norton, who recently became a grandfather, said it’s important to love someone more than yourself. He met his wife, Barb, when they were both in high school and they have been married for 35 years with two grown children.
Norton says he has learned to trust in God and he believes the meaning of life is simply to love: ‘Love one another… and make the world a better place.’
Finally, Norton asked the graduates to “give back” whenever they can. The veteran Buffalo DJ is credited with helping raise millions of dollars for local charitable groups – most notably the Make-A-Wish Foundation. However, he described small, random acts of kindness that can brighten a day.
Norton calls the experience of speaking to the Amherst graduates “amazing.” He says, after speaking to so many of the teens individually, “the future looks bright.”