Miss North Dakota Katie Olson is visiting area schools this week, sharing her platform, The Motivation Mindset: Positivity at Every Turn.
Olson visited with kindergarten through fourth-grade students at Rickard and McVay Elementary on Monday, Feb. 4, speaking to the assembled crowd of youngsters about the importance of staying positive and reaching for their goals.
"The main goal is just to spread the message of positivity and motivation," she said. "To remind kids that if they have a goal, they can do anything that they put their minds to."
Olson, a Williston native, said she has already visited more than 50 schools throughout the state, sharing her motivational message. She will be visiting 13 schools within Williston, Watford City, and Alexander this week to share her platform. Teaching the importance of believing in oneself is something Olson said she feels children should learn at an early age, giving them the confidence to pursue their interests as they get older.
"I think the younger you start, the less doubts you're going to have growing up," she explained. "You're never going to have that fear or that doubt that 'maybe I can't do that.' Because the younger you start building yourself up, the easier it becomes to just tell yourself 'If I work really hard, if I keep my head down and I keep working, if I just tell myself I can do it, then I can accomplish anything.'"
Presenting to McVay's students on Monday afternoon, Olson reiterated the message of "I can," explaining to students how, no matter what problems they may face — whether it is a difficult math problem, a project they want to complete or a career they want to pursue — believing "I can" is the first step to accomplishing their goals.
Another message Olson is sharing with area youth is the importance of being positive and looking for the best in every situation.
"Every day may not be great, but there are great things in every day," she said.
She went on to tell the children that even though they may not realize it, they have the power to make someone's day better, simply by being positive and showing kindness. Kindness, she said, could be as simple as smiling at someone who is having a bad day, or inviting another student to play a game at recess. Sharing your positivity, she said, can make anyone's day better. Olson asked students if they were ever sad for not being able to do something as well as they hoped, and after several yes answers, she explained how even if you don't get it right the first time, each failure is an opportunity to learn. Olson stated that children of all ages deal with the fear of failure, and that she hopes to change their mindset by showing them that failure is just another path to success.
"Fear stems a lot of our doubts within ourselves," she explained. "Doubt of whether we're going to be good enough, whether we'll be able to do a certain thing, and I want to share with them that failure doesn't have to mean something bad. Failure doesn't have to mean the end of a journey, the end of growth, the end of what you're aspiring to do with your life. Failure, when it's handled in the right way, can be such a stepping stone to positivity, success and growth."
Olson will continue presenting to elementary and middle school students throughout the week, but said she plans to return in the coming weeks to visit with area high schools as well.