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Risk-Taking An Ingredient for Success

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					                                   Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                      Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                   Center



                               Risk-Taking:
                          An Ingredient for Success
                                      Student Handout
BACKGROUND
                                                            PROGRAM GUEST
"As you go the way of life, you will see a great
chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think."               SUSAN
(From a Native American initiation tradition.)              BUTCHER
                                                            Susan Butcher
This ATV program on the nature of risk brings               admits she hasn't
together student leaders from high schools                  paid much
across the United States and a distinguished                attention to the
panel: Susan Butcher, David Halberstam, Jack                Winter Olympics.
Horner, Richard Rainwater, William Sessions,                "Actually not,"
and Dr. Nancy Wexler.                                       she said by phone
                                                            from Fairbanks,
Risk is defined by the dictionary as the                    Alaska. "We
exposure to danger and the chance of injury,                don't have any TV out there."
loss or failure. On the surface it would appear
to be something to be avoided. It is only                   "Out there" is Eureka, a village northwest
natural to take comfort in the appearance of                of Fairbanks near the Yukon River where
certainty and permanence. But such a                        there not only is no television but no
conservative stance may itself be a risk. The               phone and no freeways. No foolin'. Out
reluctance to act might mean the risk of lost               there, the Winter Olympics seem a bit
opportunity.                                                tame. Butcher, 33, does her thing
                                                            without flags or fanfare and does it better
The panelists argue that the key to success is in           than anyone else on earth. She never
finding the passion of one's life. Risk should              wanted to figure skate in a frilly costume
be seen as a challenge. Iditarod champion,                  the size of a snowflake or ride a luge in a
Susan Butcher, points out that the issue should             plastic leotard.
not be the fear of failure or even the fear of
death. The issue should be determining how to               All she ever wanted to be was the
live.                                                       world's top sled dog musher, and she is
                                                            - certainly a woman apart from her peers,
FOCUS QUESTIONS                                             male and female. After winning the
After watching the program, respond to these                Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome
questions either by writing in your personal                the last two years, Butcher's place in the
journal or through discussion in a small group              pantheon of mushing is assured. She'll
of your fellow students. Answer from your                   try for three in a row, starting March 5.
own experience.                                             Butcher, who raced in her first Iditarod
                                                            in 1978, has finished in the top five
        1. What is risk?                                    every year since '80, except in '85. That
        2. How does risk taking affect family               year she was leading in the early stages
        and friends?                                        when she met a moose on the trail. It
        3. What is regret?                                  wasn't Bullwinkle. Normally, a moose
                                                            will amble off at the approach of a
"EVERYBODY SAYS DON'T"                                      human, but this one was looking for
When faced with a risk, one always seems to                 trouble. A few frantic minutes later, two
be surrounded by voices of advice and                       of Butcher's dogs were dead, others
negativity. This sometimes frustrating                      injured and she was out of the race...
experience is expressed in the song
"Everybody Says Don't." (It is published by                 "You have to be very selfless in your
the Stephen Sondheim/Burthen Music Co. and                  dedication to your dogs. When you come
is from the musical "Anyone Can Whistle.") A                into a checkpoint, although there may be
few of the lyrics are:                                      a wood stove to warm your feet by, you
                                                            stay outside, you take care of your dogs,
        "Everybody says don't                               get them bedded down and fed. It may
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                                     Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                         Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                     Center
        Everybody says don't.                                   take three hours. "Then you can go have
        Everybody says don't; it isn't right.                   your 15 minutes inside, and then it's time
        Don't; it isn't nice...                                 to go check your dogs, massage them
                                                                down and get ready to go again. I might
                                                                get a catnap." At a pace of 8 or 9 m.p.h.,
        Don't walk on the grass.                                "You do some riding that can be fairly
        Don't disturb the peace.                                relaxing but the majority of it you're
        Don't skate on the ice.                                 either pumping with one leg or running,"
                                                                Butcher said. "The most strenuous is
                                                                going over the rough terrain and having
        Well I say do!                                          to steer the sled, which weighs from 150
        I say walk on the grass!                                to 200 pounds with all the gear in it.
        It was meant to feel!                                   Throwing the sled around is as
        I say sail!                                             exhausting as pumping or running.
        Tilt with the windmill!
        And if you fail, you fail...                            Butcher, an athletic 5 feet 6 inches and
                                                                135 pounds, was raised in Cambridge,
                                                                Massachusetts, but explained, "This is
        Everybody says don't get out of line.                   the life I chose." Her best lead dogs are
        When they say that then,                                Granite and Tolstoy, each of whom has
        Lady that's a sign                                      lead her to recent, victories.
        Nine time out of ten
        Lady you're doing just fine...                          Like all the Alaskan Huskies, Butcher
                                                                said, "They live to race. They like the
                                                                competition. They understand the
        Make just a ripple.                                     competition. They want to pass the teams
        Come on be brave.                                       ahead of them. They know when there
        This time a ripple.                                     are no dogs on the trail ahead of them.
        Next time a wave.                                       "The biggest problem is slowing them
        Sometimes you have to start small.                      down. In 1986, I ran four races. That's
        Climbing the tiniest wall.                              more races than any long-distance racer
        Maybe you're going to fall.                             has ever run, and I now know why -
        But it's better than not starting at all...             2,250 miles of races, which didn't
                                                                include my 3,000 miles of training.

        I say don't, don't be afraid!"                          "Only one dog ran all four races, but
                                                                many of them ran three. I was going into
                                                                my fourth race thinking, gosh, I'm really
So much is missing from the song when a few                     burnt out, so these dogs must be real
lyrics are written on paper. Listen to a                        burnt out, too. "It was a 350-mile race,
recording of it; Barbra Streisand has recorded                  and I had absolutely no control of that
the song on her 1993 album entitled, "Back to                   team. I could not get them to stop. I was
Broadway." What is it about this arrangement                    hooking trees with our snow hook, and
of the music that adds to the meaning of the                    they were tearing them over. This team
lyrics?                                                         was just crazy to go. They wanted to see
                                                                what's around the next corner. They
As a class, in a brainstorming exercise,                        wanted to race.
develop a list of other songs or pieces of music
that offer encouragement and inspiration. [i.e.                 "You have to run all of them at the same
Military Marches, The Overture of 1812, or                      time. You need only one to three dogs to
religious music.] Select a song and rewrite the                 pull you and the sled and the gear, so it's
lyrics so they reflect your own life. The                       way overkill, and you have all this
rewritten version could be either be sung for                   immense amount of power. You've got
the class or recited as a poem.                                 nothing but a voice command. There are
                                                                no reins or anything. It's all 'gee' for
For a twist to this assignment, compare these                   right, 'haw' for left, 'whoa.'
melodies to a song or piece of music that uses a
different mood and tone. Listen, for example,                   "You couldn't take Fifi the poodle out of
to Bruce Springsteen's "The Streets of                          somebody's apartment in New York and
Philadelphia."                                                  expect her to run the Iditarod, but you
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                                    Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                      Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                    Center
                                                             sure as heck could take one of these dogs
Extension idea: Invite the choir director in to              that was raised from a puppy. They're
teach/direct the songs studied by the class.                 ready for the Iditarod, and they just love
What possibilities exist for a public                        it."
performance?

BIOGRAPHY
Imagine yourself as one of the following risk takers. We now know their successes and
failures. But place yourself in their frame of mind at sixteen years old. As a teenager, what
imagined hopes and dreams does this future hero have? Write a journal/diary entry from his or
her point of view. It could begin: "Dear Diary, today, on my sixteenth birthday I had the
greatest idea. I am going to dedicate my life to..."

        Neil Armstrong
        Kathleen Battle
        Larry Bird
        Rita Dove
        Jodi Foster
        Bill Gates
        Ruth Bader Ginsberg
        Whoopi Goldberg
        Sir Edmund Hillary
        Judith Jamison
        Jackie Joyner-Kersee
        Spike Lee
        Ursala K. LeGuin
        Charles A. Lindbergh
        Greg Louganis
        George Lucas
        Christa McAuliffe
        Rosa Parks
        Jeannette Rankin
        Jackie Robinson
        Eleanor Roosevelt
        Heather Whitestone


Now that you have looked through the eyes of someone else. Imagine your own life. Write
your autobiography from the perspective of being 90 years old.

CAREER CORNER
Careers are full of risks that offer challenges and opportunities for people with a variety of
interests, talents, skills and abilities. A small sampling is listed below. Pick one that interests
you and explore it as a career possibility. What does the person do on a daily basis? What
educational background and work experience is necessary? Where is the work done? What risks
are built into the job? What are the rewards? What effect is technology expected to have on that
field? You may be surprised by what you find!

        Architect
        Cultural Anthropologist
        Cartographer
        Chemist
        Computer Programmer
        Consumer Activist
        Curator
        Dietitian
        Diplomat
        Film Maker
        Geophysicist
        Graphic Designer
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                                   Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                   Center
        Journalist
        Medical Technician
        Minister
        Public Relations
        Social Worker
        Soldier
        Teacher
        Web Designer

SURFING THE INTERNET
Begin to explore the Internet by trying one or more of the sites listed below:

        >Federal Bureau of Investigation

        > iDog: Iditarod Daily Online Guide

        >The UC Museum of Paleontology

        >The University of Montana

        > Using Computers to Uncover the Past


  PROGRAM GUESTS (Cont'd)

  DAVID HALBERSTAM
  The son of a surgeon and a schoolteacher, David Halberstam was
  born in New York City on April 10, 1934. His father, who served
  in the Army, traveled from one post to another throughout the
  country, and the family followed him around. The family moved to
  Connecticut, where in grammar school Halberstam competed for
  high grades with Ralph Nader.

  As a student at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, David
  Halberstam was a member of the track team and worked on the
  school newspaper. When he graduated in 1951, he entered Harvard
  University. He later became the managing editor of the Harvard Crimson. Having enjoyed
  his job as a reporter and believing that the racial question would develop into the major
  issue of the day, he went to work for the West Point (Mississippi) Daily Times Leader. In
  April 1956 he took a job on the Nashville Tennessean.

  In the fall of 1960 Halberstam had joined the Washington bureau of the New York Times,
  for which he helped to report on the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

  Halberstam was assigned to South Vietnam by the Times in September 1962. Almost from
  the beginning he encountered an official policy of optimism about the war, and within a
  month he began accompanying Vietnamese troops and their American advisers on military
  operations in the Mekong Delta.

  News of the deteriorating situation in Vietnam, reported by Halberstam and Neil Sheehan
  of United Press International was attacked by the American mission in Saigon, the
  Pentagon, and the White House as inaccurate, biased, irresponsible, and sensationalized.
  For his reporting in Vietnam, Halberstam was named winner of a 1963 George Polk
  Memorial Award and shared a 1964 Pulitzer Prize. Halberstam left Vietnam after about 15
  months

                          JOHN R. HORNER
                          John Horner is Professor of Paleontology at Montana State
                          University. He has unearthed more dinosaur fossils than anyone in
                          history. Professor Horner discovered his first dinosaur fossil at age
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                                  Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                   Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                  Center
                       eight, became interested in science, but felt that science courses
                       were nearly impossible to pass. He flunked out of college seven
                       times. At age 31, he discovered that his academic problem was a
                       severe case of dyslexia. Two years later, discovered the first intact
                       dinosaur eggs ever found in North America, then was the first to
                       find fossils of baby dinosaurs in their nests. He later uncovered the
                       largest deposit of fossilized bones of a single species of dinosaur to
be discovered anywhere in the world, in one of the most remarkable finds in the history of
vertebrate paleontology. Professor Horner's interpretive insights have revolutionized our
understanding of dinosaurs.

RICHARD E. RAINWATER
Richard Rainwater is a legendary financial dealmaker from Fort
Worth, Texas. The son of a wholesale grocer, he graduated from
the University of Texas with a degree in mathematics and earned
his MBA from Stanford. He landed a job as an investment banker,
but soon accepted an invitation from former Stanford classmate Sid
Bass to manage and diversify his family portfolio. Richard became
the chief financial architect for the Bass family investments, which
launched an incredible saga in American business history. He was
given $5 million to invest during his first year and managed to lose
it all, then sought an investment strategy and applied his scientific
mind to his quest. Richard became a "perpetual-motion deal machine" and the "best-kept
secret in high finance" as he propelled the family fortune to more than $5 billion while
creating one of the great American dynasties of the 20th century. In 1986 he launched his
own business, investing in more than 30 companies and purchasing one million square feet
of office space in Texas. Richard Rainwater has been heralded as the "capitalist cowboy
for the '90s, leading the way into new frontiers of finance."

                        THE HONORABLE WILLIAM S. SESSIONS
                        In his first contact with the press since being elevated from relative
                        obscurity to national attention Friday, William Steele Sessions
                        relished a reporter's description of him as "a West Texas tough
                        guy."

                        But the FBI director-designate quickly quipped that "I don't wear a
                        gun belt and I don't have any cowboy boots to my name."

                      The banter provided a telling exchange that showed how the
                      Republican federal judge can at once maintain his hard-line
courtroom stands and appeal to judicial observers from the other end of the political
spectrum.

His well-earned reputation as a law-and-order conservative has not stemmed the flow of
high praise from the other ideological extreme where his commitment to fairness has been
pointedly noted. Despite his political leanings, he has ruled in favor of civil rights plaintiffs
in major cases and has not been afraid to take on powerful members of the Texas
Establishment.

"I dare say we probably wouldn't agree on a single political issue, but I probably would
have rather tried a case in his court than any judge I felt a kinship with ideologically," said
Gerald H. Goldstein of San Antonio, general counsel of the Texas Civil Liberties Union.
To Sessions, his steely reputation is the product of a career devoted to hard work, not the
hard right. "If I'm a West Texas tough guy, it's simply because we've dealt with difficult
problems...drug and immigration problems. Whether you are a judge or whether you are
involved in prosecution or defense, these are very difficult times," he said. While claiming
that he has "a wealth of ignorance about running the FBI," he demonstrated Friday that he
appreciates the revolutionary changes the bureau has undergone since he left Washington
in 1971 and the challenges he faces in "turf wars" and other problems within the agency.

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                                 Academy of Achievement: ATV Curriculum                   Wednesday, November 4, 1998
                                                 Center
When asked if this would be a particularly difficult time to take over the FBI, Sessions
replied: "I would think not. It's the natural function in a free society - people seeking to see
what's going on in their government."

His reputation for fairness - the quality that has gained him such wide respect - may be the
most effective tool he has in dealing with the problems at the FBI. In his meeting with
reporters Friday, he stressed a strong commitment to protecting citizens' constitutional
rights. "I'm very aware, keenly aware, of Fourth, Fifth, First, Sixth Amendment rights,"
he said. "These are the things judges are made of." Moreover, he is regarded highly for
judicial management skills that can be applied to the FBI post. Interviews of lawyers who
have practiced before Sessions, judges who serve alongside him and Justice Department
veterans who portray him as a take-charge jurist who insists on "personal accountability."

He is especially tough when sentencing those convicted of crimes that challenge the
"integrity of the process," such as perjury or obstruction of justice. Sessions was
described by friends and associates as a devoted outdoorsman and sometime mountain
climber who keeps a book about Texas' rugged Guadalupe Mountains next to a volume
about Abraham Lincoln.

"He's just a real straight arrow," said James W. Blagg, a San Antonio attorney and former
federal prosecutor. "He will treat you courteously but he strives to avoid any kind of even
appearance of impropriety in everything he does." Sessions earned both his undergraduate
and law degrees from Baylor University. Before coming to Washington, he practiced law
in Waco, Texas. He served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955.

Sessions was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on May 27, 1930, and is married with four
children. Two sons are lawyers in San Antonio, the third works for AT&T. His youngest
child, daughter Sarah, is a ballet dancer.

NANCY WEXLER, Ph.D.
Nancy Wexler is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at
Columbia University in New York City. Her mother and uncles
were afflicted by Huntington's disease, an inherited brain disorder
that impairs nerve control and thinking (victims are unable to walk,
stand or even speak intelligibly). She made her life's work the
search for the single, dominant gene that killed her mother, and
which she has a 50-50 chance of having herself. Dr. Wexler went
on to spearhead an international scientific effort that led, a year ago,
to the discovery of the gene that causes Huntington's. She has also
become the leading expert on the traumas associated with genetic
testing. Dr. Wexler is the recipient of the highest honor in American medicine for
"groundbreaking research and for increasing awareness of all genetic disease."




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