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GM CEO, a Mankato Native, Inspires Students at Mankato West

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MANKATO, Minn. -

Hundreds of students at Mankato West heard straight from the CEO of General Motors Thursday morning.

A graduate of then Mankato High School, Dan Akerson gave kids advice to use after they finish their days in the halls of high school.
Akerson graduated from Mankato High School in 1966. At the podium on Thursday, Akerson said the years may change, but the challenges, especially for seniors remain the same.
"You're about to embark on life's great journey," Akerson said. "And although the world, seems to be a mess to me at many times, it was just as turbulent when I graduated here in 1966."

Students say Akerson's message was right on point.
 "I like how he was...he was very blunt about what he meant, like there was no joking around," said Cara Christiansen, a student at Mankato West.
And Akerson didn't hesitate to use that blunt rhetoric when addressing the student body.
"Take care of yourself, don't forget how important your health is," Akerson said. "For those of you who think it's cool to smoke, you're stupid...for those of you who think it's cool to take drugs, you're even dumber than they are."
Senior Bill Leitch says Akerson's speech struck a main chord.
"It's to be the best person you can be," Leitch said. "And today in this world there's so many negative influences out there, and to succeed in life, one needs to stay away from those influences."

Akerson also took time to remind students of the road ahead.
"So the education you have prepares you, you've got a good solid foundation, but now the real part of your life begins," Akerson said.