The Business and Entrepreneurship Club has never started like this before. Nearly 100 students total have attended the first two meetings and the speakers have energized and inspired everyone. Scott Rigsby, the first double amputee of legs to complete the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, was the kick-off speaker on September 12th. Scott spoke about the accident which claimed his legs and nearly killed him with other injuries. Then, he endured almost 20 years of 26 operations, depression, alcohol, drugs and nearly suicide until his “awakening” to a “mission-driven life” of helping others who have lost limbs. His foundation (www.scottrigsbyfoundation.org/) primarily helps soldiers with loss of limb to live a healthy, active lifestyle. He’s well known by the Army and Marines. In fact, he’s well known by many. Scott was awarded the Physically Challenged Athlete of the Year in 2007 and the 2008 “Star of the Year.” He’s an international speaker, the author of Unthinkable, and has been interviewed by most news organizations, most recently by Anderson Cooper of CNN. Scott’s main point in his presentation was contrasting a goal-driven life (focusing on you) vs. a mission-driven life (focusing on others). Jon Walsh, co-president of the club, said, “He was so awesome that I bought his book on the spot.” Many other students did too.
The club’s second speaker on September 26th, is an MVPS parent with a unique background. As the other co-president Bliss Mallory described him in her introduction, “Charles Mixon is a commercial real estate developer by day and an international mountaineer and adventurer by night – or weekends.” He hiked the entire 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in his early 30s, canoed about 500 miles down the Chattahoochee River to the Gulf of Mexico a few years later, and has recently climbed some of the world’s highest peaks including Aconcagua in Argentina at 23,000 feet and Denali in Alaska at 20,000. He’s eyeing Mt. Everest in the future. After a highly interactive, and many times funny, discussion of the differences between fun vs. happiness and risk vs. investment of time, effort and money, he challenged the students to a “contract.” If a student spent an afternoon outing with one child from a disadvantaged home, he would award them with $100. Some of the contract’s stipulations say that half the $100 must go toward the cost of the outing, and that the child must be aged 7 – 12. Mr. Mixon jokingly added, “You shouldn’t attempt to help kids over 12 because as we all know, teenagers are too difficult to help.” Laughter from the teenage audience followed. About 15 of the 35 attendees took a contract to decide if they would participate. We’ll see what happens.
The club is starting its 4th year and there are eight more meetings this fall. Next week’s speaker is Hector Munoz, another Mt. Vernon parent and the head of marketing for Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Other speakers include Kat Cole, CEO of Cinnabon and Edward Lindsey, the current #2 person in the Georgia State House of Representative and U.S. House candidate. He’s speaking to the club just two weeks before his hopeful election to Congress.