AIDB kicked off the new school year with Convocation on August 4, 2014 and our theme “Building a Championship Team”. A standing room only crowd of staff members came to McFarlane Auditorium on the Alabama School for the Deaf campus to welcome new AIDB ‘team’ members, congratulate ‘team’ members on their years of service and to hear an inspirational message from guest speaker, Richie Parker, an engineer with one of NASCAR’s most successful teams, Hendrick Motorsports.
Parker was born with bilateral amelia, a birth defect in which limbs are not formed. Despite being born with no arms, he has never let this stop him from achieving and doing things that everyone else does from learning to ride a bicycle as a child to attending college at Clemson University to being a successful part of a championship team for over 9 years at Hendrick Motorsports.
“I don’t like easy – I don’t want easy”, Parker shared. “The times I’ve learned the most, those character building moments have been when my back has been against the wall.” He encouraged our staff to have faith in themselves and in our students and their abilities and to never tell someone what they can’t do or place limits on them.
At the close of what was an inspiring and motivational speech, Parker shared something that his boss, Rick Hendrick shared with his staff. He said that Mr. Hendrick always tells their staff, “No one can beat Hendrick Motorsports…no one can beat us or tear us down. The only way that can happen is if it happens from the inside out.” “Maintain your unity”, concludes Parker, “don’t let anything fester and become a cancer to the group here. Focus on what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t…you may not can change a situation, but you can change your attitude toward it.”