Kevin Robinson, winner of 10 “X Games” medals for BMX riding, proved that he is also skilled at delivering messages of working hard and living your life to the fullest, when he spoke to 400 eighth graders at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School of Coventry Friday morning, Dec. 13.
Robinson, known as K-Rob to most, was invited to ASFMS by Michele Carignan, a parent of an 8th grade student, who saw the grief in her son and so many of his friends following the tragic and unexpected death of their classmate, 13-year-old Jacob Aversa, in September. Working with Guidance Counselor Lori LeBrun, Robinson pledged to visit Feinstein Middle School following hip surgery. In fact, his riding during Friday's event was only his second time on a bike since his operation in October.
In between demonstrating skills and tricks on his BMX bike, Robinson showed video of his accomplishments, telling students that he had to work hard, face his fears and stay determined in order to become a champion, and that he made his share of mistakes throughout his journey. He shared that during his first invitational in the national Gravity Games (before becoming the X Games), he placed second to last.
Robinson discussed with students the importance of being kind to others and urged them to stand up for those who struggle and to take action when it is need to help another. He recounted a story of a boy in high school who always picked on him. Later, when he became successful, Robinson ran into the bully and as they approached one another, he felt the same fear and dread come over him, even as an adult, not knowing if he would be made fun of again. However, Robinson recalled, the former bully congratulated him and asked for event passes for he and his son.
“Do you think I gave him the passes?” Kevin asked the audience. “Yes! Of course I did!"
"You want to know why?", he continued. "Because I don’t want him to remember me the way I remembered him. Every time this guy now sees me, or thinks of me, he will be reminded of me being nice to him. And now, we have become good friends.”
Robinson was especially mindful of the loss of a classmate during his presentation, said Principal Dr. Arthur Lisi, and with Jacob’s mother and grandfather in attendance, he urged students to live life to its fullest each and every day.
Robinson currently lives in Lincoln, RI, with his wife, daughter and two sons, and frequently travels the country giving inspirational talks.
He is currently building an indoor skate park in the location of the former Golf Dome at 1 Keyes Way in West Warwick (behind Cardi's), and plans to paint one of the ramps purple in honor of Jacob Aversa’s favorite color.