In the summer of 2006 I desperately needed help. I was racked with worry. I was entering my 19th year of teaching in public education and I knew this would be one of the most difficult classes I would encounter. This class was well behaved, but most of them were not very motivated, especially when it came to school.
I needed a role model that the kids could relate to. I needed someone who showed a passion for life. That August Travis Pastrana made FMX (freestyle motocross) history when he pulled a perfect double back flip at Xgames 12 in Los Angeles, CA. After he landed it, the packed stadium went wild and so did he. The excitement that he shared with the fans was remarkable. He then ran down to his mom and told her that he loved her, thanked her for supporting him, and he promised he would never do it again! I knew I had my guy: Travis Pastrana.
He is considered one of the greatest action sports figures ever seen. I began researching his life and realized that not only was he very talented at everything he did, but he was a good guy with a great outlook on life. He is someone I would want my kids to look up to.
So, for the past two years I have taught Travis Pastrana 101. Travis has taught us a lot. Last May the 4th and 5th graders at Farwell Elementary were treated to an amazing day. Travis Pastrana came down from Davidsonville, Maryland for a visit. He gave an awesome motivational speech, answered questions, and signed autographs. He wanted to spend time with these kids because they were the reasons why he was here. The 4th and 5th grade kids at Farwell Elementary will never forget that day. Not only did they meet a hero, but they met a friend.
He asked me to pick out three or four kids that showed exceptional qualities. He presented these students with a special t-shirt, but one student got a shirt with "strings attached." This fourth grader's parents had recently gone through a very rough divorce. However, Jessica never let that be an excuse for anything. That year she read all seven Harry Potter books in two months, became everyone's friend and helper, had the highest GPA, and saved up enough money to buy a dirt bike.
Travis invited her and I out to his home in Maryland this summer to teach her how to ride motocross. Jessica's mom joined us and it was a week of pure joy for this young lady.
You would expect a superstar of this magnitude to be surrounded by a king's mentality, but Travis is different. He surrounds himself with friends that are just that...true friends.
Everyday Travis Pastrana gets up and is happy because he is doing what he loves. He challenged all of the kids to find that in life...find what makes them happy.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories