Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Kids with drive are inspiration

I had the opportunity last week to write stories about two area teenagers who demonstrate a remarkable and rare drive for success. We're going to hear more about these two kids; each is going to do big things, I guarantee it.

Zach Wigal, a Saline High School senior, has spent much of the past year getting off the ground the Gamers Outreach Foundation , a non-profit that will bring video gamers together for charity fund-raisers. Wigal's idea emerged from disappointment: about a year ago, a Halo 2 tournament he planned to hold at the high school was canceled by school officials four days before it was to take place after they decided the game was too violent to hold on school grounds. Instead of throwing up his hands in despair or even just trying to hold another tournament somewhere else, Wigal decided to tackle a bigger issue. He decided to change the perception that video gamers were only obsessed with the violence of the digital world; that somehow gamers were social misfits because of their passion.

He envisioned turning gaming toward good. And his vision is taking off. The charity foundation will hold its first fund-raiser, Gamers for Giving, Feb. 29-March2 at Eastern Michigan University. Some 300 gamers are expected to take part in the event and GOF hopes to raise around $7,500 for the Autism Society of Washtenaw County.

The buzz on this continues to grow. I think Zach's vision has real, long-term legs. This isn't a simple fund-raiser. This is a movement. And this kid is only 18. Watch for some amazing things from Wigal; you'll be seeing his name again on a national level, I'm sure.

Another kid who is bound to be heard from a lot in the future is Tevyn Cole, a 14-year-old clothing designer attending Milan High School.

This kid, I'm telling you, all you can say is, "Wow." He started his line of School Me clothing when he was ten. Ten! I think at 10 I was collecting rocks and digging a hole in a nearby field to create an underground fort. Tevyn has more productive ways to spend his time. His clothing line celebrates Black history and the accomplishments of African-American scientists and engineers. The idea alone is solid, but Cole is a natural-born entrepreneur and he would throw the same amount of energy and committment behind any idea he became passionate about. He has his own business cards and Web site. He was recently selected as one of 100 teenagers from across the country to take part in the Disney's Dreamers Academy, where he spent four days hob-nobbing with Disney executives and other successful people in a wide range of fields.

One of these days, I fully expect to flip on my television and see Tevyn being interviewed by Donny Deutsch on CNBC's The Big Idea, where they talk to men and women who have become successful in entrepreneurial pursuits.

I really can't wait to see where these two kids take their lives. They have all the ingredients as far as I can tell to succeed and succeed madly.

But no pressure, guys, no pressure.

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