Motivational speaker connects with local students

A good education goes well beyond books. That’s why students crowded in the gym at St. Mary to learn from the firsthand life experience of a world-renowned athlete. Craig MacFarlane is a man who found success despite being completely blind. He used his story to connect with students in our area and motivate them to visualize what they want to achieve.

Second graders all the way up to seniors in St. Mary School System filed into the stands anxiously looking forward to seeing a man who can’t see them. “I really started thinking while I was sitting in the bleachers,” said Antonio Barraza. He said he opened his mind and his ears for a few lessons outside of the classroom from the world’s most celebrated blind athlete, Craig MacFarlane.

“If I can show through what I’ve been able to persevere through and accomplish in my life that you can do it too. That’s really the underlying current in my message,” MacFarlane said. Totally blind from the age of two, MacFarlane said he doesn’t remember his parents faces or what colors look like. When he lost his vision, he gained determination and desire.  “It’s when we become complacent and expect the world to come to us on a silver platter that we start feeling sorry for ourselves. Of course, you never reach your full potential when you do that,” he said.

His is a story of overcoming the odds, and that’s something Barraza said his family understands as American immigrants. “He really enforced what I saw in my dad as I started growing up.” It’s a sermon that’s starting to sink in for Barraza. He said, “What Mr. MacFarlane had to present to us today was really inspirational.” It was encouragement for students with vision to create pictures of success in their minds when what they see doesn’t look like a fair shot.

MacFarlane won more than 100 gold medals in his career as an athlete. Paducah Edward Jones financial advisors also arranged for him to speak at McCracken County High School Thursday afternoon.

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