Spithill tells students to dream big’
This week Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, visited T.N. Tatem Middle School to launch the first of eight such visits the team will makeover the course of the school year.
“We’re so appreciative of the welcome we’ve had since we’ve moved to Bermuda,” Spithill said. “For us, this is a way to give back.”
More than 130 middle school students from T,N, Tatem have graduated from the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme already this school year.
The programme has the students learning about Steam curriculum subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths in the context of sailing and taking to the waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound to put the theory into practice.
As well, the students have Friday morning sessions on health, physical education and nutrition at the team base from Oracle Team USA experts.
At the T.N. Tatem morning assembly, Spithill encouraged the students to dream big and said hard work would be necessary to turn those dreams into reality.
“First of all, don’t let anyone tell you can’t do anything,” he said.
“Dream big. For me, the America’s Cup was my dream, but whatever your dream is, believe that you can do it.
“Secondly, there’s no shortcut. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to achieve your goal.
“Whether it’s in sport, or in life, working hard and being prepared sets you up for success. You’ve all experienced that already.
“The test that you studied hardest for, or the sport where you practised more before the big game, those were the ones where you were more successful.”
Spithill said he had been impressed by the impact of America’s Cup Endeavour on students in Bermuda.
“We asked for a show of hands for who had been sailing with America’s Cup Endeavour and more than 100 kids put their hands up.
“Then we asked who had been sailing before that and I think I only saw one hand in the air. That impressed on me the impact it’s having.”
Spithill returned to the team base and relayed this story in an all-team meeting, singling out the Oracle Team USA boatbuilders who have refurbished 30 Optimist dinghies and donated them to youth sailing projects with America’s Cup Endeavour and Sandys Boat Club.
“It does make a difference,” he told them.
“It’s great to think there are more kids getting out on the water because of this.”
The 35th edition of the America’s Cup will be held in Bermuda in June.