Higher Achievement: Richmond Visits MVS

Natalie Decker signs autographs for Higher Achievement: Richmond
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More than 40 eighth-grade scholars from Richmond stopped by Martinsville Speedway Wednesday evening for a tour, as part of the Higher Achievement College Tour.

The group first learned the history of the speedway, and then talked to three members of NASCAR’s Diversity programs.

NASCAR’s Director of Racing Operations and former diversity intern, Brandon Thompson, pit crew member Ricky Rozier and driver Natalie Decker participated in a panel discussion about not only NASCAR , but how to be successful in life.

I’m hopeful that the spark occurred,” Executive Director of Higher Achievement: Richmond Tyren Frazier said. “You had three very different people sitting on that panel, all that looked very similar to every one of these scholars in here. Whether it’s playing a sport or tying into the actual work field; you had a driver who played football and then ended up with a career in NASCAR…You have a driver who got started chasing her dream at a very young age.

“I’m hoping that our scholars see this and they can aspire to do whatever it is they want to do.”

Rozier talked about turning negative experiences into positive ones.

“The biggest learning curve in life is that as a child most everything is given to you,” Rozier said. “As you get older and you get more responsibilities things tend to happen to you. It’s not because you have bad luck, but because you’re destined for something greater.

“You have to have character and be able to drive forward to get to that place you want to be.”

The group stopped by Martinsville Speedway on the college tour, even though it’s not a college because it ties in with why it’s important to make sure the kids focus on their education.

“The programing that we’ve seen so far at the colleges all ties into what happens here,” Frazier said. “Everything you learn from day one through the end of your college career is that it all ties in together. The math, the engineering the communication skills, it all fits in.”

Decker wanted to convey the importance of staying focused to get ahead in life.

“You have to make the goal first, but the big thing is the plan,” she said. “You’ve got to stick to your plan and keep going. You have those friends who go out and have fun. Those nights you can’t go out and get into trouble. You can’t do that if you want to be great and do something great.”

Ty Logan, a rising eighth-grader, said he learned a lot about racing, but also learned some things he can apply to everyday life.

“I learned that just because you see other people do it, doesn’t mean it comes easy,” he said. “You’ve got to take the steps to get what you want.”

In addition to Martinsville Speedway, the two-day tour visited three area colleges along with some other local businesses.

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