“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
I LOVE this quote. I first heard it from the movie The Sandlot (which is a MUST SEE if you haven’t..) and I’ve always held onto it, even naming my fledgling college video production company ‘Legend Productions’. To me, it always meant to push harder, to do a little more, to build a legacy that will be extend long past your physical life.
This weekend on KETV Chronicle, our Rob McCartney interviewed coach, Congressman, athletic director and mentor Dr. Tom Osborne. He is a Hall of Fame college football coach, one of the most respected in the history of the game. He won his congressional district with an astounding 83-percent of the vote. He stepped in to the Nebraska Athletics’ office at a time of fan unrest and turmoil and ‘righted the ship’ according to many sports experts.
But when Rob asked ‘T.O.’ how he would define a successful life, Osborne said he hoped to be defined by the relationships created through the Teammates mentoring program he founded, not just by what was accomplished on the football field.
” That ripple effect on down through history is your legacy,” Osborne told Rob. “Trophies tarnish, rings get thrown in the trash can and records, if you think about it, who was a great coach 90-years ago? You hear a few names but you don’t remember those guys anymore, and that’ll be the same thing with me and other people. But that ripple effect, the influence you had on people, that will continue on down through many generations.”
Rob has interviewed Osborne numerous times throughout the years, developing mutual respect and friendship through that relationship, and this answer stood out for Rob and many of us who watched Chronicle. Of everything Dr. Tom Osborne has accomplished, MENTORING is one of the things he’s proudest of.
She may separated by distance, time and experience from Osborne.. but that desire to make an impact on people is mutual for 16-year old Grace Heggem.
Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography
“Spending time with a child even just once a week and getting to know them can really inspire them to set and achieve goals of their own,” Grace told me recently. She’s promoting mentoring across Scottsbluff as Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, after an experience with a classmate two years ago.
“One of the girls in my class had confessed to us that she had been depressed lately and the previous weekend had suicidal thoughts,” said Grace. “She said that that week I had come up and talked to her and that simple act had made her feel like someone cared and was one of the reasons she was still here. I immediately broke down and later realized the impact simple acts can have. Sometimes all people need is to know that someone cares.”
And it was a mentor who led Grace to the path she is currently on to compete for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. Her childhood babysitter was Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan, who encouraged her to try a pageant when Grace was 13.
“I loved it!” said Grace. “The entire process is a great confidence booster and the interview/people skills can really be beneficial in the future. These pageants bring about personal development. I have seen for myself the positive changes they bring about for young women. I’ts not always about the end result, it’s about who you become in the process.”
Grace is quick to note she’s not just a ‘pageant queen’. She is president of the sophomore class at Scottsbluff High School, vice president of Key Club (focusing on community service), a member of National Honor Society, she plays varsity volleyball, she’s involved in her school’s upcoming musical, she’s a dancer and she plays piano.
Grace credits her work ethic, the ‘5am-6pm way of life’ as she calls it, to her parents, a quality she says would make her a great state representative.
“I am diverse and involved in a wide variety of activities which makes me personable and able to reach a greater amount of people in my state,” said Grace. “My grandpa is a rancher so I understand and can definitely appreciate that major element of what makes Nebraska. As my dad is the owner of a construction business, I understand the value of hard work.”
That family unit is also Grace’s top priority.
“My mom is my number one supporter no matter what, my best friend, and the person I laugh with the most,” said Grace. “My dad has always supported me in everything I did and always encourages me. My brothers are my best buds whether we’re watching football, laughing, or even arguing. Growing up with three brothers, I never played with barbies or dolls because we were too busy playing with Nerf guns or wrestling. (I totally won by the way.)”
Neither pageants nor any other outside influence is likely to change those core values for Grace, who notes her biggest role model is Duck Dynasty star and devout Christian Sadie Robertson.
“I really respect her because she’s in a business where her values aren’t necessarily prevalent but she still stays true to them,” said Grace. “She is different but she embraces it and by doing this inspires others to not be afraid to be themselves either. That is something I definitely admire and try to do myself.”
And whether Grace Heggem is signing autographs or volunteering for the Children’s Miracle Network, she hopes to inspire her fellow pageant contestants (the girls she now calls her friends), to join her in the mission SHE embraces.
“If I were to become Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen I would like to create a mentoring program using our Nebraska titleholders!” said Grace. “Pageant queens absolutely have the potential to be mentors in their communities. It’s crazy to me how a little girl’s eyes light up when they see and talk to a ‘princess’ with a crown on her head.’
And while Grace Heggem has a lot to be proud of.. being featured in her local paper, playing piano for crowds of hundreds, being elected a leader by her fellow students and peers.. that impact through mentoring is the legacy she wants to leave behind.
Tom Osborne’s players have gone on to do amazing things (CLICK HERE to read a few in my Throwback Thursday Husker series!). Those young men, and the people Osborne mentored have passed on those life lessons to their children, and kids THEY’VE mentored. If the little girl smiling above with Grace goes on to mentor someone, and SHE goes on to mentor someone, that cycle of positive influence will continue long beyond what two people remember; it becomes a legacy. That is Grace Heggem’s goal on her way to compete for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.. the sparkly crown is just a bonus.
CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Grace Heggem
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GRACE?
For more information about the Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, visit THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Kyla Ansley at 308-631-0938 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email email@example.com.
For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Kali Tripp at email@example.com.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!