When Zach Veach was a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a race car driver. He told his father about this dream everyday. At first his father thought that this was just a silly fantasy. He did not pay much attention to it, but Zach did not give up. Zach was persistent and his father finally realized that Zach really wanted to become a race car driver.
Zach says, “I started with Kart Racing, and began turning laps at a small track in Circleville, Ohio, where later I would win my very first championship.” Zach went from racing go carts that went only 50 miles per hour to race cars that went 150 miles per hour. When he was 15 years old, Zach was asked to join Michael Andretti’s racing team and drive in the USF2000 series.
Of course, while learning to drive race cars, Zach went to go to school, where things didn’t go as well. When Zach was in middle school, he was small and didn’t like playing the sports other kids did. This made Zach different and a target for harassment. He was teased, pushed around, and even beaten up by bullies. They also told him over and over that he would never become a real race car driver, that he would never be good enough! This was hard for Zach to hear but he refused to let the bullies destroy his dreams. In fact, Zach worked even harder to prove the bullies wrong.
Zach’s hard work and determination paid off and he looks forward to soon driving in the Indy500.
People can learn a lot from Zach’s story. Even though he faced the bullies at school, Zach refused to let them get him down and keep him from following his dreams. Zach offers this advice to people who are being bullied, or who have been bullied: “no matter what you do in life, how big or how small, never let someone stand in your way and tell you, you can’t do it, or your not good enough.”
In sharing his story, Zach’s message is clear: bullies do not have to win.
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The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.