Wiggins: “School Comes First”

By: Aaron Seehusen, Lynx PR

Candice talking to students

For Candice Wiggins, education never took a back seat to basketball; school game first. Wiggins’ mother, Angela Wiggins, instilled in Candice at an early age the value of hard work and education, making sure her schoolwork and study habits never fell behind her work on the court. It’s something the Lynx standout takes a lot of pride in. And it started at a very early age.

That’s why last Friday was so special for the recent Stanford University graduate.

“Education means the world to me,” exclaimed Wiggins. “This is kind of what I stand for, because of my own path to Stanford and the WNBA. It all started with education. For me, as someone who has travelled that path and who has a great platform to reach out to kids, it was awesome to share my experience.”

Wiggins, along with Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and mascot Prowl took their important message to Farnsworth Aerospace School in St. Paul, Minn. There, over 400 5th-8th grade students packed the gym to learn about the importance of staying in school, the 4 Ps of success and why it’s essential to make the most out of their early childhood educational experiences.

“It’s so important (that the kids maximize their time in elementary and middle school), because if they fully understand the opportunities they have right now – you see the work that you do now, for elementary, middle and high school students… the hard work that you do then each day -- it pays off later in life. I think it’s important for kids to understand that what they’re doing right now, it isn’t for nothing. Actually it’s going to pay off later if they set goals and remain disciplined.”

Candice talking to students

The students of Farnsworth have a collective goal to attain a 90 percent proficiency rating this year, an objective that Farnsworth Principal Dr. Vincent hopes his students really take to heart. “It’s very important that we even attempt to have 90 percent proficiency,” admitted Vincent. “We know that it is a lofty goal, but we want to think big. We believe that if you think big and exhibit the four Ps of principle, participation, perseverance and practice, along with all the things that athletes support and promote, we can certainly do that as well in the academic arena.”

Wiggins hopes the students recognize the importance of setting goals at an early age. “When you have a goal in mind, and you can take the steps to get there… So if their goal is to go to college, that’s a goal; that’s the finish line. Now that they have that, it’s about the journey, not the destination. No goal is too high or too small. It’s their goal.”

With their goals in site, Dr. Vincent hopes the words relayed from Wiggins and Reeve will hit home with the students. “It is extremely important that we use our athletes. They’re considered role models by many young people, so when you can get them to come and support education, it is a very inspirational tool for our students. They have so much to share. The students actually look up to the athletes. We want to use them to help promote education and the importance of learning.”

It all comes full circle for Wiggins. “It’s fun for me. I learn, too. The kids, they inspire me. I take a lot of my inspiration from them.”

Candice talking to students