A seven-year-old racer named Emma went home from school in tears after her teacher said that girls don’t race cars. She was so crushed by those words that the track where she races has asked for words of encouragement from other female racers. So far, the response has been overwhelming.
According to a post that has gone viral on Facebook, Emma races quarter midgets, which are small oval racers designed for children. So when her teacher asked her to make a personal goal, she said she’d like to improve her summer and winter racing.
Her teacher told her — a girl who is already a race car driver — to re-do the assignment, as that can’t possibly be a goal because girls are not race car drivers. The post says that Emma went home in tears, and asked her parents to sell her racing stuff as a result of what her teacher said. Her parents ultimately convinced her to keep everything, but that doesn’t make what she was told feel any less awful in the moment.
Not content to leave this be, the staff at Rocky Mountain Raceways, where Emma races, asked for stories, letters of encouragement, hero cards and pictures from other female racers to prove that it is possible for girls to race, have fun and be successful at it.
We contacted Rocky Mountain Raceways Oval Track Manager Dan Breach to verify the viral story and yes, unfortunately that happened. Emma’s assignment asked for her goals over the next three months, according to Breach, so she wrote that she’d like to get better in go-karts. That way, she could still improve in racing even when the quarter midgets aren’t in season. Smart girl!
The teacher didn’t know Emma raced and apologized when Emma’s grandmother went in to discuss the incident. Breach says that they’re being cautious about local publicity, as it ultimately was more of an honest mistake than anything. After all, racing isn’t exactly a common sport for any child of that age. As such, they would prefer to keep the family and the teacher out of the limelight, and stay away from negative backlash. Emma’s also very shy on top of all of that, so Breach says he’s focused on turning this story into a positive one, seeking words of support for her to continue on in the sport.
“We felt moved to do something about it,” Breach explained.
Here’s the track’s contact information (as quoted from the Facebook post) in case you want to add some positive thoughts to the growing pile:
Please send the pictures or letters of encouragement to:
Rocky Mountain Raceways
Attn: Dan Breach
6555 W 2100 South
West Valley City, Utah 84128
So far, Breach says that he’s received about ten to twelve scrapbooks’ worth of letters and photos, and the pile only keeps growing. Of course, he’s received a fair number of notes asking if the story was real, since it spread through social media. Along with those, however, he’s gotten numerous touching stories of women in the racing community.
Some respondents to this story have even offered to sponsor Emma’s quarter midget, but Breach said that she’s politely turned down those offers, as she doesn’t want to have an extra advantage over her brother.
(Say it with me now: awwww.)
Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Raceways via Facebook
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.