Classroom Champions backs out of SxSW Edu panel over the health and safety of Panelists including Mentor and Paralympian Lex Gillette

March 18, 2021

AUSTIN, TX (March 3, 2020) – Classroom Champions Co-Founder and CEO Steve Mesler announced today that Classroom Champions will not participate in SxSW Edu to protect the health and safety of its team and panelists including Mentor, four-time World Champion and four-time Paralympian Lex Gillette. “Keeping in mind the health and safety of our team and panelists - including Lex who’s currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - we no longer feel comfortable attending SxSW Edu,” said Steve Mesler, an Olympic gold medalist and co-founder of Classroom Champions. “It’s a hard decision for us, especially as a non-profit, as SxSW provides one of the best opportunities to share inspiring stories, ideas, and research, like the awesome work athletes like Lex and teachers like Ella are doing for kids.”Steve, Lex, and Classroom Champions teacher Ella Maya from Phoenix, Arizona were scheduled to host a panel entitled From Heroes on the Screen to Heroes in Real

Life. The three panelists planned to share their experiences, best practices, and research on powerful and impactful ways of bringing kids’ heroes into the classroom. The three also planned to announce a new initiative for teachers across North America.“It’s upsetting that we won’t be able to attend,” said Lex Gillette, a Classroom Champions mentor and 4x Paralympic silver medalist. “We were all excited to speak to this incredible group of educators and share powerful tools to help their classrooms. Hopefully we can connect with SxSW teachers and attendees in a different way!”Classroom Champions, a non-profit that teachers and schools turn to for inspiring Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and mentorship programs, is one of the first non-profits to pull out of SxSW Edu over health and safety concerns. For more information, contact: Alex Sopko | Director of Communications, Classroom Champions | asopko@classroomchampions.orgAbout Classroom Champions Classroom Champions is a non-profit dedicated to connecting students with world-class athlete mentors. Classroom Champions supports students in academic, social and emotional learning (SEL), and provides curriculum and mentorship programs to districts, schools, and teachers to encourage children to achieve successful futures. Classroom Champions has brought social and emotional learning to thousands of schools and millions of students. Working with 150+ Olympic, Paralympic, university student-athletes, and professional athletes who volunteer as mentors, Classroom Champions has mentored more than 40,000 students and provided more than $7,000,000 in scholarships to Title I, rural, and Indigenous communities across the continent. Students participating in Classroom Champions see significant improvements in the classroom, teachers see improved engagement, and athlete mentors learn new skills to prepare for life after sport. Learn more at: