BENTONVILLE – One look at Milka Duno and one wouldn’t be surprised to learn she is a model. One might be a little surprised however, at her primary career – race-car driver.
Duno is also an inspirational speaker who wrote her autobiography in a book geared toward elementary-school children. She shared her book and her story Wednesday morning at Central Park Elementary School at Morning Star. Duno, from Venezuela, spoke about the importance of education.
“Education is the number one thing you can do,” she said. “You can race cars for a little while, but your education is forever.”
Duno spoke about how she “competes to win”when she races, but that virtue started when she was in school. She tried to be the top student at her school, she said.
“I feel a responsibility to tell (students ) to prepare for the future,” she said.
The students were impressed with meeting the celebrity.
“It’s cool that she’s a (racecar driver ),” said Connor Krapf. “She can win trophies.”
Classmate Emma Wood was impressed with Duno’s other career.
“She’s also a model, and she gets to go to a lot of shows,” the second-grader said.
Both the students said they agree with Duno’s message regarding the importance of education. They agreed that staying in school is a good idea.
“It’s so you can learn more so when you grow up you can get the job you want,” Krapf said.
Duno was at the school as part of Central Park’s first Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. The school’s International Committee works to celebrate various cultures that are found within the school, assistant principal Inger Kent said. The school has 22 cultures represented within its walls, she said.
“Our children are from all over,” she said.
The lessons learned during Duno’s presentation will not stop there. Many teachers planned to discuss the presentation in their classrooms. For example, teacher Elizabeth Hampton said she was going to talk to the students about several aspects, including how Duno chose a profession that is not traditional for women. The class will also discuss more about Duno’s Hispanic heritage, as well as hard work that leads to success, Hampton said.
“We’ll talk about putting your mind to doing whatever it is you want to do, then doing it,” she said.