LIVERPOOL CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT – At the start of each school year, Chestnut Hill Middle reading teacher Christopher Mathes shares a lesson on perseverance, resilience, dedication and hard work with his students.
Mathes asked them to watch the inspiring story of former University of Michigan basketball player Austin Hatch, who has survived two plane crashes – the first at 8 years old that claimed the life of his mother and two siblings, then a second eight years later that claimed the lives of his father and step-mother.
The second crash left Hatch in critical condition and in a medically-induced coma.
He had to re-learn to walk, talk and live life again, but never gave up his dream to play basketball at Michigan.
After watching the story, the students were asked to write about how Hatch’s story exemplifies perseverance, and share a time they have persevered in their own lives.
One student, CHM seventh-grader Caleb Simpson, was so inspired by Hatch’s story that he wanted to learn more. He soon discovered that Hatch has made it his life’s work to help teams and individuals overcome adversity.
Simpson shared that information with Mathes, who reached out to Hatch.
On Oct. 3, Mathes’ students had the chance to speak with Hatch and ask him questions about his experiences through a Google Meet.
Hatch spoke about the lessons he has learned over the years, and provided advice on how the students can learn to approach adversity as an opportunity, and not an obstacle.