A teacher friend of mine asked me to come speak to her fifth grade, as they had just finished reading “Wonder” and wanted to hear my story. I have done so many presentations and workshops with teens, college students, parents and more, but probably the most fun for me is when I get to work with youth, and this event at Sand Piper Shores Elementary was no exception. They listened attentively, wrapped up in my talk as I presented for nearly 40 minutes. One of the teachers told me later that they
were not only impressed with my story, but that their kids had a reputation for not sitting still for very long…not this time. Finishing up the time with question and answer for both me, and my 11 year old daughter who came along with me for this presentation, I got some great questions such as how do I drive and what’s my favorite color?. J Finishing off the event, I gave each student a chance to see and hold my Paralympic medal from the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. My hope and sense is that they came away with a much better understanding of the capabilities of those who are disabled, but more importantly, that they themselves are much more capable and powerful than they realize.
Here’s what one of the teachers had to say…
I wanted to thank you again for your visit to our school. Your inspirational presentation was fascinating to both the students and teachers. I love how you related to the kids and addressed the questions they might have with truth and humor. Our Principal was able to attend for some of the time, and she was so impressed with your message.
My students were so excited to learn more about goalball! We watched some videos and they could not believe the athleticism involved in what you do. This also gave us the opportunity to talk about the Paralympics and all the different sports involved.
My favorite part was when you included references to the book, Wonder in sharing your story. We had just finished reading the novel and it was so special to hear first hand from someone who maybe felt “different” and how you overcame so many obstacles to become the champion you are today.
I hope that after meeting you, my students will realize the importance of setting goals in life and know that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
5th Grade Team Leader