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    Teaching students resiliency

    Teaching students resiliency pic 1

    Farmer, traveller, and adventure seeker Chris Koch talked to the East Lake School grade ones to grade fours about going after their dreams no matter what on Nov. 26. Koch was born without arms and legs and has made the most of his situation by doing what he loves, working on the farm, traveling the world, and speaking at schools and conferences around the country. Photo by Emily Rogers

    East Lake School students were given a motivational speech they will remember for the rest of their lives on Nov. 26.
    Chris Koch, an Albertan farmer, world traveler, and adventure seeker who was born without arms and legs told grade one to grade four students that what others might see as limitations, they can see as opportunities.
    “It’s so much fun, it’s pretty rewarding, on a simpler level with the younger kids it’s showing them what I’m able to do, and educating,” Koch said.
    The motivational speech went well, Koch added, it can be challenging at times speaking to the younger grades.
    “The fact that I’m missing arms and legs is such a distraction, you just try to have fun with it.
    “I could sit in a room full of kids for two hours and still not answer all of the questions they have,” he said.
    It’s important for Koch that younger students know it’s OK to ask questions, it’s OK to not be shy or afraid, and it’s OK to be curious he said.
    “If a guy without arms and legs can do pretty cool stuff, then they’re capable of doing some pretty cool stuff too,” Koch said.
    Koch has been speaking at schools for the majority of his life and has made a full-time career out of it.
    He hopes students realize that they can do a lot more than they realize because of his motivational speech.
    “On a more complex level with the older grades, it’s about making the most of whatever situation,” Koch said.
    He added, “I was born missing arms and legs, some may see that as unfortunate situation, others will see as an opportunity to make the most of whatever situation they find themselves in.
    “We all have stuff we’re doing through, we all have challenges and obstacles. We can have it get the better of us, keep us down, or we can say it is what it is, I can’t change it, but I can have fun with what I have.”
    Koch now is combining his two passions of world travel and motivational speaking.
    “I love traveling. If one day I can say I’ve been to every single country in the world that would be awesome.
    “I’m just going to try and get as many countries as I can, keep speaking, keep having fun, keep finding the next adventure, and the next challenge.”
    Koch added, he doesn’t want to be speaking about the same thing 10 years from now.
    Although Koch has been on many memorable adventures, a highlight for him was riding his skateboard along the Trans-Canada Highway and making his way across the country in 18-days through the kindness of strangers.
    “That was one of the cooler adventures I’ve ever done,” Koch said.
    He added, “You can have an absolute horrible time in the middle of paradise, or you can have the absolute best time you’ve ever had in the middle of nowhere.”
    It was important for Chris Koch to speak at the East Lake School because of the message he brings, said Principal Jordan Fenton.
    The message Koch brings is one of resiliency, and one of looking at our lives as what we can do rather than what our limits are, Fenton said.
    “My hope would be that students think of all the possibilities they have in their lives and reach for their dreams,” Fenton said.
    He added, “In a world where we are always anxious about the unknown, Chris is an amazing example of how we can go past that and meet challenges for what they are, just challenges.”
    For additional information about Chris Koch please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ifican.chriskoch/