​On this page we will introduce you to many Leaders……..with Swag. You will find that a normal kid like you can make a huge impact on your community. And they live right here in your backyard. Well, not literally. You’re never too young to make a difference, so don’t look down on yourself, look UP to yourself!
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Rebecca Dietz  443 326-3816
Yung Trinh       410 336-4218

Passion2Build Initiative

Before we get started, I would like to know:
If you were queen of the world, what is the first thing you would do?

  ​You know, I’ve always wanted to go on a safari. So I would probably go on a safari.
​This month, our Student with Swag is Hannah McFadden.  Who is Hannah, you say?  Well, Hannah qualified for the 2012 Paralympic 100 meter finals in London this summer.  And she lives right here in Columbia.  Plus, she is only 16 years old!  Here are some interesting facts about her.

Hannah attends Atholton High School and is in the 11th grade.  She loves to play basketball, as well as track, of course.  Her favorite color is yellow. 

Before you start reading this, you should be informed about the Paralympics.  It is the Olympics for people with physical disabilties. For track, depending on one's range of motion, you get a classification and then compete in that group.  You also have different classifications for each disabilty (wheel chair, amputee, and visually impaired). Hannah is a T-54, which means, in English, that she is in the highest functioning wheel chair category possible.

Now here are the following questions I asked her in my interview.
When did you start racing competitively? What got you interested? 

I really like going fast and I’m very active and like to move. When I was younger I started track to get rid of my energy. For the past 2 ½ years I’ve been doing it competitively, going to meets.  

When did you first think about trying out for the Paralympics?  

Probably in March, since the tryouts were in June.

What happened that you thought you could do it?

I decided to train harder, and I upped my training to twice a day...I did more weightlifting and increased my focus once I decided what I wanted to do.

 How many hours do you train a week?

About 16 to 18 hours a week.

Who is the most famous or inspiring person you ever met?

There was this one person, and his name was Richard Brown. He was on my team and he always had a positive outlook toward track. He also told me to just have fun with it. You can’t take it too seriously. That’s when you start messing up—so just go and enjoy yourself. I think that was a big lesson to me and he is just a really nice guy and taught me a lot about track.  

What was the best part about going to London?

I would have to say the opening ceremony. It was a really cool experience…doing the march of nations.

Do you plan to be on the U.S. Paralympic team in Rio in 2016? What is your goal?

 My goal is to make it to Rio for track. I hope to add on to my races so I can do the 400m, 800m and 100m.

What do you think is the most important quality for a leader to have, and why?

​I think a leader has to be a great listener, because, when you are a leader, you have lots of people giving you input; you have to make sure you listen to them so you can get all their ideas. It makes a leader better if they keep an open mind.

Now that you have been in the Paralympics, many kids will look up to you as a role model and leader. What do you think your leadership style is?

I think my leadership style is you just have to treat everyone equally. Even when you have different opinions from them, you still have to respect the person. You have to respect everybody.

 Before going to the Paralympics had you ever thought of yourself as a leader, capable of doing exceptional things that would inspire others?

I never really thought of being a leader. I thought I would just beat to my own drum. It's great being a role model and I hope I can keep on doing that for girls.

How has this experience changed you?

I think it has given me more confidence in myself, and given me more confidence in what I am doing in my life and it has given me goals and what I want to achieve.

Photos are from Hannah's website.  Check it out at:   http://www.hannahmcfadden.com/  
Hannah, preparing for a race.