Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

July 23, 2012 - 2 Comments

Ah, the excitement and power of the Olympic Games – and what an inspiration it is to young athletes and students! Watching the coverage of the lead-up to London 2012, I can’t help but contemplate the potential impact of collaborative technology on not only the games themselves, but those participating in and watching the games.

For those who know me, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a big wrestling fan. My husband is an accomplished wrestler and head high school wrestling coach here in Allen, TX, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact the sport has had on the lives of young men and women. Unfortunately, in the U.S., wrestling is somewhat of a second tier sport in the mainstream sports world. So, when the Olympics come around, excitement builds for wrestling fans as we prepare to watch the wrestlers we have admired for so many years get a spotlight on the global Olympic stage.

With my experience in the videoconferencing industry and my underlying passion for the sport of wrestling, I was especially intrigued last year when I heard about the organization called Classroom Champions. They connect students in high-need schools with top performing athletes in order to motivate them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology.

Through this program, Athlete Ambassadors “adopt” classrooms and teach students about the hard work of training, goal setting, competition and perseverance. Using blogs and live video chats, students engage with Ambassadors, and teachers receive support to help them incorporate the activities into their curricula.

The potential of this kind of program is evident when you hear the inspirational story of Tervel Dlagnev, who graduated from Arlington High School in Texas and will represent Team USA at the London Olympics in freestyle wrestling. Tervel was inspired by the sport and strives to give back to his community and to the sport.

So, as I watch the Olympic Games in London and see some of my favorite wrestlers like Jordan Burroughs, Coleman Scott, Sam Hazewinkel, and Jared Frayer go for gold, I will also be watching to see whether they will be future Classroom Champions. And wondering, will they befriend any of their international brethren and stay in contact using the same technologies that are supporting the games in London?

Whatever your sport of choice, enjoy the games! If you happen to see an especially inspiring moment or potential Classroom Champion, let us know…

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  1. I am also a fan of wrestling but annoyed with the fact that Wrestling in US is considered to be a second tier sports. I have been eyeing on the London Olympics to see my favourite stars in action, moreover its nice to hear about the work of Classroom Champions who are motivsating high school students to establish goals and than work towards the attainment of those goals. I wish I also had someone to motivate me during the days of high school.

    • Completely agree, George. It really is too bad that wrestling does not get its fair share of publicity, but that does make the Olympics even more exciting! And let’s not forget the other world competitions coming up. I’m excited to say that for the second year in a row, one of our Allen, TX wrestlers will be competing on the USA Cadet World Team in the world championships in Baku, Azerbaijan in August. What a great experience for those young men to travel and meet other wrestlers from all over the world – and how great it is that technology allows them to stay in touch so easily. Wondering how many of them will be having video chats and connecting via social media after they get back to their home countries.