Former Pawhuska businessman Alden Swartz, who helped three decades ago to found the annual Pawhuska High School Honors Banquet, on Monday night at the Elks Lodge told 22 students being honored that they should spend their lives making the people around them better.


“That’s making your mark,” Swartz said, “and that’s what you’re going to measure when you become an old, gray-haired, bald guy like me.”


The theme of the 2019 honors banquet was “Making Your Mark.” The annual banquet recognizes students in the top 10 percent of their classes at Pawhuska High School.


Swartz, his wife Dena and their children lived in Pawhuska from 1985-1993. These days, Swartz lives in Lafayette, Ind., and works for the Veritiv Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.


Swartz cautioned the students that developing goals is important in the process of pursuing personal and occupational success.


“If you don’t have goals, the likelihood of success is pretty low,” he said. He encouraged his audience to write goals down and, better yet, even share them with others so that family members and friends become involved in encouraging accountability.


Swartz lamented the decline in privacy and civility that have resulted from the online revolution of the past quarter-century, but he challenged Pawhuska High School students to be among those who refuse to be drawn to the “dark side” of activity on the Internet, and who insist on using technology for constructive purposes.


“You can choose how to respond and how to use all these tools,” Swartz said.


The leading role of the Pawhuska Kiwanis Club in founding the Honors Banquet was also a theme of the evening Monday, as banquet participants celebrated the success of the event.