This quarter we spotlight Pathway To Harmony Aikido Program (PHAP) student Walmer Saavedra. Walmer has been a part of PHAP since 2009 and participated in the 2010 and 2011 Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment (PHASE) programs. While in the PHAP and PHASE programs Walmer has participated in Aikido Association of America (AAA) and Aikido International Foundation (AIF) sponsored aikido seminars and a variety of workshops and classes on breathing meditation, restorative justice, banking, financial literacy, aviation, and strategic thinking (chess).
Walmer is most known for being inquisitive because he asks tons of questions. No matter what type of class, Walmer can be counted on to ask questions that broaden the conversation and challenge both students and teachers. He’s also know for his boundless energy and his enthusiasm for learning new things.
Walmer says that he is planning on doing big things with his life, including being the first in his family to graduate from college. Never one to think small, his plans also include getting an architechural engineering degree, preferably from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his degree, he plans on using it to help enhance the quality of life for people all over the world.
An avid chess player Walmer knows the importance of having a winning strategy and sticking to it. He is currently a sophmore at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a Chicago Public High School with a history of graduating future engineers and math scholars. Walmer currently holds a 3.3 G.P.A. In 2012 and 2013, he participated in summer engineering programs at Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign respectively.
While he doesn’t get to practice the physical side of aikido as often because of his demanding schedule, Walmer says “ I practice the mental side everyday”. He credits the principles taught in the Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program with helping him to learn how to stay focused on accomplishing his goals “I use my mind, body, and spirit to help me run. I use the principles for running because I have to use my mental strength to help finish a race. I have to breathe and not focus on the pain.”
Walmer ran track during his freshman year at Lindbloom. He quickly made his presence known, racking up some impressives times in the 1600 meters, including a 4:46.53 for the state. He came in 3rd at the Chicago Public School Sophmore meet, and holds Lindblom’s 1600 meter record.
In the fall of 2013 Walmer scaled back his track time, choosing instead to focus on soccer. As with track, Walmer again made his presence known, becoming a star soccer player for Lindblom. In the first five games of the season he became the top goal scorer with 12 goals and 11 assist. In his role as Junior Varsity Captain, Walmer helped Lindblom’s soccer team to become the 2013 conference champions. He plans to return to track starting with some indoor meets and then eventually move back to the outdoors.
No one knows what Walmer will set his sights on for the 2014 -2015 school year, but everyone believes that whatever goals he sets, he will accomplish. Stay Tuned!
Walmer Saavedra Highlights
• 2010 Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment at Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago, IL
• 2011 Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment at the Japanese Culture Center in Oak Lawn, IL
• 2012 Minority Engineering Program at the Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
• 2013 Discover Engineering Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
• Experience in the usage of Autodesk Inventor to design 3-D objects
• Achieving the highest rank possible of E-Squad for showing knowledge of the material learned in class and helping fellow students master those skills
• Being selected to represent Lindblom’s Pre-Engineering Program at the CTE Month event at CPS Headquarters
• Build a Rube Goldberg Machine for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
• Sponsor Money Smart Week campaign, and in the process being nominated as Executive Director of Design for showing leadership and contributing to the completion of the Rube Goldberg machine
• 2013 Conference Champions
• 2013 Most Goals Scored
• 2013 Most Assists Made
• 2013 Junior Varsity Team Captain
Track and Field
• 2013 1600m City 3rd Place Champion
• 2013 1600m State Sectionals Champion
• 20131600m State Finals Qualifier
• Lindblom Math and Science Academy 1600m record holder
• 2012 Freshman Team
• 2013 Conference Champions
• 2011-2012 Boy Scouts of America
• 2009-2011 Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program; earning 8th and 7.5th kyu