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Artwork by Robert Neubecker

By Steve Williams, WSD Executive Director

In 1986, my younger brother Darrin tore the old engine out of his Dodge Challenger, rebuilt it piece by piece, and put it back together again all by himself. He was 16. The car ran well for a couple of years after that until a cold Alaska winter finally marked its end. I remember being surprised that my little brother, whom I had taught to do many things, could do this one thing that I could not imagine doing – without the help of money or the Internet. All he had was a Chilton’s shop manual for the car, his own curiosity, and a strong desire to figure out how things worked.

Last Spring, while Darrin and I were out riding dirt bikes in St. George, I asked him about this project and how he accomplished it. His answer was simple – he just did it. He wanted a car and couldn’t afford to buy another one, so this was really his only option. He had nothing to lose and was highly motivated to make the engine work. He experimented with it, paid close attention to how he took it apart, made a lot of mistakes, and reached points where he wasn’t sure what to do next. When that happened, he asked a friend or a friend’s dad for advice, tried this and tried that, until he was finished. To me it was a stunning achievement.

WSD’s school theme for this year, “The More One Does, the More One Can Do,” reminds us that what we are fully capable of doing is a question mark. Our capacity to do hard things increases when we try doing those hard things, and is mostly limited only by our own will and imagination. We learn by trying, by making mistakes, and by seeking help from those who know more – sometimes just a little more – than we do. As we approach this school year, my hope for all of the members of the Weilenmann community is that we discover the beauty of doing things that might otherwise be just out of our reach. Amelia Earhart’s moment came as she made her solo flight across the Atlantic – the first woman ever to do so – and ours will come as we face the unique challenges in our own lives.