Jennifer Pharr Davis, an author, record setter, speaker, and former National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, inspired our community during a recent visit to find our voice and speak our truth. Jennifer has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails throughout six continents, and has learned lifelong lessons during her travels. In speaking to our community, she emphasized the importance of effort and direction. Effort and hard work will help to get you where you want to go, but if you don’t know the way to get there, you’ll get lost on the trail.
Having completed the Appalachian Trail three times, and setting a record for the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the trail in 2011, Davis has learned that the trail “doesn’t care what you want.” Similarly, we must adapt to what comes our way, and continue to achieve forward motion and success, rather than being discouraged by disappointment.
After sharing these stories to the broader community, she returned to speak to eighth and ninth graders in their classes. Students had the opportunity to ask questions, and learn more about her experiences, her training, animal encounters, and about the many books she has written. She spoke in detail about resilience, teamwork, pushing ourselves to see what we are capable of, and not fearing failure. She challenged the eighth graders to discover their best as they head into their final year at Cardigan, and she asked the ninth graders to reflect on being almost at the finish, which is often the easiest time to lose focus and purpose.
Learning about her life discoveries has been an eye-opening experience for our community, and we are excited to continue working hard, and maybe hike a few trails, per her advice!