Middle school isn't an easy timeline for many kids. It is especially hard when you're about 4'6" and only weigh about 60 pounds. That was me.
Football, basketball and baseball weren't anything I gave much thought to playing in school. My dad was a national truck and tractor-pulling champion and I too had always loved racing. I use to race toy Hot Wheels cars in my bedroom, imagining that I was competing against my idol, Michael Andretti, in the Indy 500.
Racecar driving isn't necessary considered a traditional sport and it's obviously not offered in the public school system. To most people, it's pretty foreign and like many things that people don't know a lot about or don't understand, they are quick to judge it.
Because I was interested in racing and pursuing that as my sport, I was judged. I didn't own basketball or football jerseys, but I had racing shirts I'd wear to school and would also wear my shoes I raced in!
While I was pushed around, beat up and made fun of, I was motivated to keep working towards my career in racing. My family and my teachers helped keep me focused, as hard as it was at times.
I look back at that time in my life and I still get angry that people thought it was okay to break down people's dreams and push them around for being "different." Today I'm in my senior year of high school and things are quite different. I go to school online with K12. The thing I love about K12 is that it allows me to be out on the road to continue to pursue my dream of being a professional racecar driver. At K12, there is no one breaking me down or trying to hold me back from my dream. I feel so encouraged to pursue my passion, especially when I have my teachers asking how my race over the weekend went or asking about my upcoming races... They actually care about me and what I'm doing, and that's a really motivating feeling.
While I'm in a much better place, I know that some others may not be. That is one of the main reasons I've joined the No BULL Challenge. It's a national anti-bullying awareness campaign that enables my peers to enter a competition by creating a 2-5 minute video, or, 30-60 second PSAs, with a message of digital responsibility and/or anti-bullying.
We need to continue to encourage kids to stand up for others when bullying occurs, and the No BULL challenge is a great platform to inspire that. Last year, Robert Austin Barker won first place for his documentary, The Formula: A High School Thesis. The video was so awesome -- you should check it out on YouTube. The message was simple but the result was far-reaching.
So if you are like me and got bullied or have a friend that was bullied or just want to help us to stop bullying altogether, you should enter this contest and maybe you'll find yourself with the winning video! This past year at the awards event, Sean Kingston performed and South Park did a spoof on one of the video's entered in the contest -- how cool is that!
Never let a bully stand in your way of what you want to do in life, however big or small, and perhaps taking a stand may land you a spot on South Park.