X Games gold medalist and 2014 Winter Olympics hopeful Jamie Anderson spoke to eight wide-eyed kids at South Tahoe High School on Monday, as part of this year’s Jamie Anderson Surprise Sponsorship program.
For the program, a handful of students were chosen as finalists to potentially receive new snowboards, Oakley goggles, Billabong outerwear, boots, bindings, GoPro video cameras and 2013-14 season passes to Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort.
The entire package is worth about $1,500 per student.
On Monday, Anderson communicated with this year’s participants for the first time via video conference call. She’ll meet with the students face-to-face on Dec. 28, when the winners will receive their new gear and get to spend the day riding with one of snowboarding’s biggest names.
“We all have something to give, whether it’s a physical item or being nice to your friends at school or being nice to maybe someone you don’t know,” she told the students. “(It’s) just spreading that love of being here for each other.”
Each student read portions of a letter they wrote to Anderson that explained why they should be chosen for the snowboard package.
Jorge Luquin, a 16-year-old at South Tahoe High School, said he wanted new snowboarding gear to help reconnect with a family member by providing an activity for them to do together.
He also needs a replacement snowboard after his last board broke, he said.
“I don’t know how I did that one,” Luquin said.
“You must have been having too much fun,” Anderson responded.
Sierra House Elementary student Monserrat Franco, 10, began to tear up when she explained to Anderson that she wanted a snowboard to learn the sport and eventually teach it to her younger brothers.
Anderson assured her that she was going to have plenty of fun when the group goes snowboarding later this month.
“You’re the most precious little girl ever,” Anderson said.
This year’s finalists came from a variety of schools, including two from Sierra House Elementary, two from South Tahoe Middle School, three from South Tahoe High School and one from Mount Tallac Continuation School.
Anderson said she’d like to sponsor more students, but she’s starting small.
“I figured just start small and create this kind of community of love and gratitude and give back the way you can,” she said.