What does it mean to be a champion? The thought crossed my mind several times last week as I sat in Wilson K-8’s Champions for Change assembly. For the past semester, Girl Scouts have been partnering with Wilson K-8 and the Champions for Change program to help deliver afterschool programming focused on energy use. Students in the ‘Wilson WattBusters’ used watt meters and thermometers to monitor energy use throughout the school and then publicized the results to students and teachers. They then took their work one step further, forming an energy patrol to check in to classrooms and teachers’ lounges and make sure that unused appliances were turned off, computers were kept in sleep mode, and the like. All along, the WattBusters have been recording and publicizing the data on their Wiki page and coming up with creative solutions for reducing Wilson’s energy use.
The Champions for Change assembly was an opportunity for students to meet someone they had up until then only read about in their Champions for Change classroom texts. Greg Hockensmith, world champion handcyclist and paralympian spoke to the students about what being a champion meant to him. He challenged students to define themselves by their wins, not their failures, maintaining that: “When the defining moment comes, either the moment defines you or you define the moment”. Greg also showed the Wilson middle school students photos of his ride up Mt. Fuji, telling them what an amazing experience it was to climb a mountain that transcended clouds and from whose peak he could look down at the peaks of mountains the height of Mt. Lemmon. He said he still considered that his premier cycling experience and that he continues to devote his time to mountain biking so that he can enjoy being in the undeveloped outdoors and taking in all of the natural beauty that Tucson has to offer.
I was proud to be in attendance of the Wilson assembly last week, listening to Greg’s stories of being a world champion athlete and recognizing the Wilson WattBusters for their work in championing energy use awareness. Both were creating their one wins, and then defining themselves by them.