During the third American of the Taft Union High School Academy of Drilling Engineers (AADE) dinner meeting of the 2022-23 school year, students were welcomed by choosing their seats and interacting with others before getting in line for dinner. Athena Campos, president of the AADE student section, released tables to load their plates and grab a drink before the meeting began.

Before Dennis Robins from Berry Petroleum, the guest speaker, began his speech, the officers updated fellow students and faculty on recent Oil Tech. events and budgeting. Robins then took over and provided the audience with an understanding of his childhood. He stressed it to be difficult and confusing for being so young, due to problems within his family and constantly switching between schools.

Robins carries on to refer to him and his sister as high school dropouts, but is later driven to get his GED, and moreover, a degree in Psychology. As he took such an overwhelming journey with intentions of success, it was realized that if one goal can be accomplished with the right mindset, then he can strive to achieve several others.

As his life carried on, it was clear to see that one opportunity that may seem small in the moment would lead to others, and bigger ones, at that. The speaker motivated the audience, “If it’s something you wanna do, don’t give up on it.” This short, and simple statement led into an emotional conversation regarding will power and overcoming the obstacles in life that are thrown at people.

Robins found himself in the oil industry during his adult years, and was extremely fascinated by it to the extent that he has been working in it for fifty years! According to him, most people associate occupations in this field with “dirty work”, or hands-on labor with a rig. However, that isn’t always the case and you can get your degree in numerous fields, while still being able to work in the oil industry.

Although he pointed out that the industry doesn’t only revolve around being in uncomfortable weather conditions or putting in physical efforts, he encouraged students to have a plan for when they graduate. Furthermore, an important lesson taught to the attendees was that obstacles in life are burdensome but strong-minded individuals will be guided to success because of it, instead of hindered.

Fred Holmes, liaison of the program, chose wisely with AADE’s most recent guest speaker, because he allowed the audience to vicariously experience his life and learn from it. Holmes is very appreciative and thankful for Robins, who was an amazing keynote speaker.