I was thrilled to be asked to captain a team, with my friend Scott, by Chevrolet’s PR team to be a part of the #ChevySXSW Road Trip. We were asked to drive to SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin Texas along with other teams from all across the country.
Our task: Drive 1400 miles to Austin Texas from Salt Lake City in a Chevy Traverse (provided by Chevy), and make 3 stops along the way to elementary schools to speak to kids about what drives them, what motivates them, and what they want to be when they grow up. We also talked a little about social media marketing and the SXSW event. In addition, we were to tweet, and blog along the way in hopes of raising awareness for each teacher’s class, and hopefully raise some money along the way.
Stop #1: Angela Patterson – James E. Moss Elementary – Kindergarten – Salt Lake City, UT
Unfortunately our first stop in Salt Lake City was cancelled, so we drove on to Albuquerque, New Mexico for our official first stop.
Stop #2: Patricia Kincaid – Pajarito Elementary – 3rd Grade Albuquerque, NM
While the drive here was quite exhausting (drove straight through on day 1), we had a lot of fun along the way, and thankfully a day of rest before our visit to the school.
This class absolutely made our trip worth it! We scheduled a 30 minute visit, and it turned into almost 2 hours with these amazing kids. The class was so awesome they did not want us to leave, at one point asking how many days will we be there, and if we will come back on our way home.
We hung out and talked with each of the kids, did some assignments with them, and Scott even read them a story. Towards the end we passed out some SEO.com pens and stickers to the kids, and next thing we know we are signing autographs for each and every one of them… what a hoot!
All the kids created a bunch of art and posters that we took to Austin to put up and display. Unfortunately, after we handed it all off to the Chevy PR team, we never did find where it was all displayed. But the effort the kids put into it all was just awesome.
In the video below, you can get a taste of what this class is all about. All of our teachers signed up with Adopt-a-Classroom, and Patricia’s class is really in need of some help. Some of these kids live off in the flats around the school, in mobile homes with no running water… yet they make it to class every day, and are extremely positive, as well as very smart and outgoing! The big focus we had when speaking with them was in line with the schools efforts to decrease bullying. Check out the video!
Immediately after the class visit, we headed off to Austin. We hoped to stay someplace along the way, but as midnight rolled on, we could not find any rooms available… assuming we could find a town to begin with. So we pushed on, drove all night arriving in Austin at 6:30AM. After some breakfast (at Waffle House – my new favorite place EVER) we finally got our hotel room just in time to freshen up for the 2PM class visit in Austin
Stop #3: Minda Anderson – Becker Elementary – 1st Grade – Austin, TX
What a great teacher and students here in Austin. This is a bi-lingual class, so they learn both in English and Spanish. Our visit here was only about 30 minutes, but we got to talk to the kids in a group setting, asking what they wanted to be when they grew up etc. We also got to meet with the kids in groups as they showed us some of the projects they were working on. What a very bright bunch of kids. The teacher is doing a great job with the resources she has, but could still use some help.
Final Stop: The #ChevySXSW Welcome Party
That evening, after 36 hours of no sleep, we attended the Chevy Road Trip party. They created drinks at the bar for each team that drove in, had some great food… and over all, capped off the awesome journey to Austin in style. The other teams were awesome, and it was fun to share the stories about each other’s trips. They even had past teams at the event to meet and hang out with. I hope to attend again next year as alumni.
In my next post, I will discuss my actual SXSW interactive experience, and share some tips of what I would do next time I go. SXSW is an amazing experience, but can be quite overwhelming… so stay tuned.
Until next time…