Bobsled Olympic Medalist joins Kimberly Albro classroom in Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE     Issue 18     October 26th, 2012

Bobsled Olympic Medalist joins Kimberly Albro classroom in Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy

HARTFORD, Connecticut (September 10, 2012) – Out of hundreds of applications, Kimberly Albro from Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy was one of only 36 teachers selected to participate in Classroom Champions during the 2012-2013 school year.  As a part of the program, Albro’s 4th through 6th grade classes will interact with women’s bobsled Olympic medalist Elana Meyers throughout her competitive season via monthly video lessons and live video chats. Meyers hopes to motivate Albro’s students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while also educating the students in the practical use of communications technology.

“I am so honored and excited to be a part of such a wonderful program,” Meyers said.  “As a substitute teacher, I’m always looking for ways to promote the importance of education.  I’m excited to share my journey with students and tell them about the lessons I’ve learned, and hopefully have a positive influence on their lives as I’m sure they will with mine.

Not all children have the benefit of strong role models who encourage them to envision a successful future for themselves.  Classroom Champions uses Olympians and Paralympians as role models for success and goal setting while increasing students’ digital literacy. Meyers, who has competed in the sport of bobsled since 2007, will serve as an athlete mentor to Albro’s students throughout the school year.

Meyers, a Georgia native, was a standout shortstop and pitcher for the softball team and a member of the ECAC Division I softball All-Star team before she transferred her skills to the ice.  She made the World Cup team in her rookie season, and claimed an Olympic bronze medal just three years later with pilot Erin Pac at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.  Meyers has since shifted to the front seat, and drove herself to a bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships on her home track in Lake Placid, N.Y.  Meyers is a favorite for gold in 2014, and will take her adopted classroom along for the ride as she competes over the next two seasons.

“I look forward to hearing stories from the students and having the opportunity to share mine with them,” Meyers said.  “Values such as hard work, perseverance, and dedication are some of the things we practice on a daily basis as Olympic athletes.  Growing up today is difficult –we’re in an age of cyber bullying, economic downturn, and an increase in childhood obesity.  I hope I can help teach the students values that will help them handle adversity so they can achieve their dreams.”

Albro’s students will have an opportunity to learn from all seven Classroom Champions athlete mentors as they travel and compete around the world in their respective sports this season. The complete lists of athlete mentors include: 2010 Olympic bobsled gold medalist and two-time World Champion Curt Tomasevicz, 2009 luge World Champion and Olympian Erin Hamlin, five-time National Champion and two-time Olympic aerialist Emily Cook, 2012 National Champion and Four Continents Champion figure skater Ashley Wagner, and ice dancing 2011 World Champions and 2010 Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

“I know that this will be an invaluable experience for my students, as they will greatly benefit from all of the elements that the program has to offer,” says Albro. The students will have the opportunity work with role models and learn the value of goal-setting and hard work. I also believe that the lessons they receive in digital literacy will help them to compete in an ever-changing and advancing world. I look forward to this program helping to improve my students’ self-efficacy and confidence, encourage their intrinsic motivation, and help them to become life-long learners with the desire and ability to give back to society in the future.”

The program was created in 2009 by bobsled champion Steve Mesler, who invited classrooms throughout the country to accompany him on his personal Olympic journey by interacting with students through online communication.  While Mesler was busy helping the U.S. win its first gold medal in the four-man bobsled competition in 62 years at the 2010 Olympics, he still took the time to regularly check in with kids from around the nation through video conferencing and blogs.

“[Steve] encouraged these kids to believe in themselves and to have the confidence and self-discipline to reach for their goals no matter what the circumstances– to not wait for things to happen, but to get up, get focused and always strive to improve themselves,” said Michelle Lanz, a third grade teacher who participated in the 2010 program. 

The pilot program was such a success that Mesler teamed with his sister, Dr. Leigh Mesler Parise, to officially establish Classroom Champions as a non-profit organization that targets elementary and middle schools where at least 50 percent of the student population is eligible for free or reduced price lunch. 

As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Classroom Champions is seeking donations from the community to support their local classroom.  Donations will directly help purchase products and tools to help implement the program.  For more information on how you can help, please follow Classroom Champions on Facebook.

For interviews with any of the athlete mentors or questions regarding Classroom Champions, please write to PR@classroomchampions.org.  Media inquiries for Kimberly Albro and students can be directed to Ruth Lyons, Director at ruthlyons@gmail.com.

 

About Classroom Champions

Classroom Champions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by 2010 Olympic gold medalist Steve Mesler and Leigh Mesler Parise, PhD, that connects Olympic and Paralympic athletes with students in high need classrooms around the nation. “The mission of Classroom Champions is to inspire, motivate and educate students in high need schools,” Mesler said. “We want students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big.” Classroom Champions would like to thank the following partners for helping the program become a reality for children across the nation: Cisco, Plantronics, Lululemon, eMag Creator and Clover Web Sites. 

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