Bellarmine-Jefferson High School students looking to carve out a life path can now turn to the likes of Desmond Tutu and Jane Goodall for inspiration.
The Catholic high school recently published "Wisdom of Giants," a collection of 100 letters addressed to the 300-member student body from some of the greatest world leaders and scholars.
"When you look at the compilation, there are some fantastic people represented," said Bellarmine-Jefferson Principal Sister Cheryl Milner.
Glendale resident and Bellarmine-Jefferson economics teacher Dennis Ryan launched the project in 2001.
"We thought it might be interesting to post in the glass-enclosed wall case in the main hall letters from important people," Ryan said.
Ryan, 75, a retired stock broker, began writing up requests on a typewriter at the public library next to Bellarmine-Jefferson at Olive Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard. He asked each respondent to offer some life advice, and to make book recommendations.
The first letter came from his longtime personal friend, John Wooden. The second was from broadcaster Walter Cronkite. And during the next nine years, the letters poured in from around the world. Among the respondents are President George H.W. Bush, hockey star Wayne Gretzky and former EBay President Meg Whitman.