Big Bear Lake, CA — The star of yesterday’s Live Your Dreams Fair at Big Bear Middle School was eighth grader Jordan Romero, who, along with climbing partners dad Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren, were welcomed home to Big Bear and celebrated for their record-breaking summit to the top of Mt. Everest on May 22. The community—including countless BBMS students–came out in support of Team Jordan Romero, as did the dignitaries, many of whom presented the 13-year-old climber with proclamations and accolades, which he humbly accepted to the cheers of those in attendance. Among those June 9 acknowledgments was a statement from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As read by Big Bear Lake Mayor Liz Harris, “As a fellow athlete, I commend you for challenging your determination… your perseverance is the hallmark of a true champion.” Jordan also received commendations from Senator Bob Dutton and Assemblyman Paul Cook, as well as a visit from Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry, and comments from BVUSD Superintendent Nancy Wright, who said his legacy is the hope he gives all of us. BBMS Principal Julie Chamberlin did her part, in trying to secure something from President Obama and, in the course of many phone calls to the White House, she told Jordan, “They’d all heard of you!”
As his principal, Chamberlin said, many people had asked her if she thought the arduous climb of Everest was appropriate for a teen, to which she’s said, “Thirteen is just a number, and that number does not define Jordan Romero.” Describing him as a quiet, gentle, thoughtful leader, she relayed that he was like a celebrity on campus, especially on Monday (June 7), his first day back, when he joined Chamberlin to read the announcements on the school’s TV system. The middle school will feel the effects of Jordan long after he graduates to Big Bear High School as, on his behalf, Stater Bros. Markets made a $10,000 contribution to the school district which, when coupled with the over $2,500 raised at Wednesday’s dinner, will continue to fund the after-school intervention program billed as Homework Club.
As for continuous support here in Big Bear, it was Karen Lundgren who told the crowd, “You guys all helped to get him to the summit—more than you know.” She also shared some encouragement, saying, “Parents, get to know your kids and what their dreams are and how you can support them.” The third member of the team, Jordan’s dad Paul, thanked his son for taking care of him at 29,000’ and added that “the love and teamwork was just magical.” When, at ceremony’s end—and yet prior to the dinner and slide show that followed—Jordan was given his opportunity at the podium, he said, “Thanks from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so welcomed. When I was nine, I found a big goal, a goal to climb mountains. It hasn’t been easy, but the most important thing is that I kept my focus. I’ve never been more proud to call Big Bear my home than I am this evening.” He noted that it was thinking of home here in Big Bear (where he is a third generation local, following mom LeighAnne Drake and grandparents Bob and MaryLu) that got him through the tough times en route to Everest. “My real summit,” he added, “was returning to Big Bear.” He then continued to inspire by asking attendees to close their eyes and envision their goal. “Find your Everest,” Jordan encouraged, “and climb it.”
For more on Team Jordan Romero, check out Jordan’s appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Friday night, airing at 11:30pm on NBC, and stay tuned to KBHR for details from the trio’s slide show presentation at Big Bear Middle School.