(NEWS CENTER) -- One man who, as an impressionable high school student, met Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. says the experience forever changed his life.

John Jenkins went on to attend Bates College, be elected mayor of Lewiston and of Auburn and serve in the Maine Senate -- things he never thought possible until he met a man who dared him to dream.

Jenkins was President of his student body at his high school in Newark, New Jersey, which had been plagued by deadly civil right riots.

King stopped there on his way to Memphis to preach non-violence to a very angry crowd.

It was not a message that Jenkins thought he agreed with... until he heard King speak.

For the first time, Jenkins was inspired to dream beyond the street corner where he hung out with his friends and to get the most of his education so that he could achieve those dreams.

King's words changed the direction of his life.