Archive for September, 2011
The air was crisp this morning in downtown Portland, Maine. People zipped up fall jackets. Gone was the thick, wet air I’d experienced earler in the week up north in the Belfast area. Fall is coming. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo as left the Hilton Garden Inn across from the ferry in a sleeveless Lycra suit for a workout around the bay. The bight sun warmed me quickly as I left the shadows. The permanency of New England is it’s beauty to me–the old bridges and rocks on the craggy coastal landscape with sparkling sea and cloudless sky.
It’s been quite a week. I’ve seen old friends and met new ones. We’ve hit Maasacusetts, Vermont and Maine so far, presenting to approximately 5,00 students and showing the film four times to packed houses. The Fay School even scheduled a return showing October 1st.
The pace has been crazy. I seem to have been either presenting talking to people or driving, though there’s been a bit of time to sleep and workout on an almost daily basis. I’m off to New York for a panel discussion at the UN tomorrow. While the pace has been crazy, I’ve loved the perpetual motion and connecting with the students. I’m off for now, but hope to write more when I get off my phone and onto my computer later today.3 comments
Often, the greatest gifts come out of crisis. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I remember the most remarkable scene that I saw in the aftermath. When the towers came down, most ran away, but a select few ran to save those who remained inside. In a town with people who will hold a door for you, but won’t look you in the eye or acknowledge your “thanks,” people helped each other, they saw each other, and they came together.
One Revolution’s motto is, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.” The goal is resilience, which sounds like being tough enough to endure, but our collective perception doesn’t account for how what happens to us can be the greatest gift. Our tour started last week. We visited four schools and showed the movie twice. Driving from New Hampshire to Vermont, I wondered what I would see as a result of Hurricane Irene. I wondered about closed roads. I didn’t anticipate the positively changed lives.
At Crossett Middle School in Waterbury, Vermont, students and teachers were hit hard. The principal told me how his house and neighborhood were completely demolished by the flood, but that wasn’t the remarkable part of the story. When the waters retreated, he returned home to clean, only to find a woman that he didn’t know already cleaning the furniture in his yard. This woman, a French Canadian on vacation with her boyfriend, decided to help people that she didn’t even know. There were tons of stories like this. People helping people they didn’t even know. Like with 9/11, sometimes crisis shows us the best in people.
At almost every Nametags presentation, a student asks me if through some miracle of time travel I could return to the day of the accident, would I prevent the accident. Obviously, I can’t change something that happened in the past, but I don’t want to either. I wouldn’t change the experiences that I have had or the person that I’ve become for the ability to walk. Sometimes we need to crisis to show us the best in others and in ourselves.
The start of the tour has been great to see so many old friends, to see the tremendous reaction to the film and to play some spectacular venues in Stowe and Waitsfield, Vermont. Even though we’ve now done more than 150 of the Nametags presentations, I learn something every time. To make a point with one group I asked, “We’re taught from the time we’re little that we can do whatever want, aren’t we?” In my mind the question was mostly rhetorical, but a fair number of the students answered, “No.” I hope that we’ve changed their minds, and I hope that we can all see that as difficult as tragedy can be, some of the greatest gifts come out of the worst moments.
Today is the first day of school at the Brookwood School in Machester, Mass. It feels like my first day to as Brookwood is the first stop on our ten-week tour. I’m filled with anticipation and excitement tinged with nervousness. I’m sure I share these emotions with the first day students. What will this year bring? What will the next ten weeks bring for me?
It’s a rainy beginning with a daunting, circumlocuted route on what surely are former cow paths now paved and numbered roads from Hampton, NH to Manchester.
It’s a chest constricting, clock ticking, new shoes (thanks Keen for your sponsorship), that thing I forgot race to the front door of the school. Like the students, it’s a race to get started, otherwise, it’s just the excitement and anticipation tinged with nervousness. Let’s get started
Paralympian Chris Waddell to teach students about resilience – - Belfast – Waldo – The Republican Journal
Searsport — On Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m., champion Paralympic athlete Chris Waddell will be giving a presentation of his Nametags educational program for Searsport school students.
In this interactive program, designed in conjunction with Donna Volpitta, Ed.D, Chris uses video clips, activities and stories in order to challenge students to think about the assumptions we make about the labels that we place on ourselves and others. It is a powerful presentation that is endorsed by bullying expert Joel Haber.
On later that day, at 7 p.m. in the Searsport District High School cafetorium, Waddell — who was featured this July on ABC’s 20/20 “Super Humans” segment for his 2009 summit of Mount Kilimanjaro — will be presenting his award winning documentary of the climb “One Revolution.”
This is the only screening of the film in Maine, and is a must-see. This screening of the film is proudly sponsored by Hamilton Marine Inc., so there will be no admission charge for the event, however, donations are welcome and all proceeds go to the One Revolution Non-profit foundation. For more information contact Jessica (parent volunteer) at 323-4512 or the school at 548-2313.