Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pioneer Elementary Assembly

I love public speaking and I love to share the RODS Racing story so when I was asked to be a guest speaker at Pioneer Elementary School in Preston, Idaho I quickly accepted.  After a day or two passed from accepting the invitation I really started to think this through.  There was going to be hundreds of 1st and 2nd graders in attendance.  I thought about my little 1st grader and how small her attention span is.  Then I started to get nervous.  I feel fine speaking to an audience full of adults but how in the world was I going to keep these little guys engaged!

The day quickly arrived and my family and I made our way from Meridian down to Preston.  This was a special opportunity for me.  This was actually the school that I attended throughout grade school.  Driving up and seeing the familiar building brought back so many memories.  Walking into my old gymnasium reminded me of the many dodge ball and basketball games.  It's where I had my first school dance in 5th grade (now that was stressful!), and also where our Idaho History Bee was held.  Never did I think I would be back in that gymnasium as a guest to speak to the students.

The children started filing in and they looked as nervous as I was.  I noticed that many of them were dressed in their Sunday best in preparation for the big day.  I found out that the teachers had been talking with their students and explaining about Down syndrome, Orphans and what a "hero" is.  They were all excited to be there.  So was I.

Before the assembly even started I got a special surprise.  One of the teachers had collected a bunch of photos of me and my family while I was growing up as well as a few from the past year as I was doing Ironman's.  They put them together in a slideshow.  While the slide show was playing the students sang a song for me titled, "That Hero Could Be You".  I was fighting back tears and the assembly hadn't even started. 

Principal Wynn Costley and Mrs. White, my 4th grade teacher (one of my all time favorite teachers) introduced me and just like that I was in front of hundreds of little guys telling the RODS Racing story.  I talked a lot about Nash and even had Nash come up in front of the kids.  It was a lot of fun to see their expressions and their enthusiasm. 

One thing I wanted to do was have the teachers choose a few children who they thought would be good candidates to receive a RODS Racing T Shirt.  At the end of my presentation I made a special announcement that everybody there was going to get an official RODS Racing Card and that a few lucky students were going to get T Shirts.  Seeing the looks on these children's faces when their names were called out was worth it's weight in gold! 

After the assembly the students once again played the slide show they had made for me and sang me the Hero song.  Talk about a tear jerker!  As they were leaving I went into the audience and gave lots of high fives and hugs.  I wish I could have spent 1 on 1 time with every child and encouraged them to keep on going and never give up.  They are all so full of potential and they deserve to meet that potential.

I stopped by one of the classes on the way out and they gave me some goodies.  I also saw a bunch of posters welcoming me.  Kids are great and I'm glad I had this chance to speak.  I always feel like I benefit more than the audience when I get to share the RODS Racing story.  One things for sure, these guys sure made me feel like a hero!

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