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Finding your passion, and what you can do with it
PHS students learn leadership, service, their values in new Headfakes group
Mark Hirsch and Headfakes
Participants in the Platteville High School Headfakes group are pictured with photographer Mark Hirsch (sixth from right), who spoke to the group. The group was created by UWPlatteville junior Josh Inglett (left).

One of the pieces of career advice frequently found, among other places, in graduation speeches is to follow your passion.

That, of course, requires figuring out what your passion, or passions, are.

That is the first tenet of Headfakes, a new Platteville High School group founded by UW–Platteville junior Josh Inglett.

“We want to talk about our passion and to talk about living inspired and overcoming obstacles,” said Inglett.

Headfakes calls itself “a group of motivated students who meet regularly to have conversations about finding their passions, what it means to be a role model, working with others, and overcoming barriers.”

Headfakes is based on the Last Lecture series of Carnegie Mellon University Prof. Randy Pausch, who gave the “Last Lecture” while he had terminal pancreatic cancer. Pausch termed indirect learning a “head fake,” arguing, “The best way to teach somebody something is to have them think they’re learning something else.”

“I wanted a way that I could give back to the community after everything that happened last summer,” said Inglett.

“Last summer” refers to Inglett’s brief appointment as a UW System student regent before his appointment was withdrawn after conservative groups found his signature on a petition for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker. That same month, Inglett traveled to Denver as part of the Platteville contingent at the All-America City Awards.

Inglett sees Headfakes as a chance to do, “more local, more direct,” what he wanted to do as a student regent.

About 20 students have attended meetings, and half of them are active in the group. Meetings included an exercise listing all the things participants are good at, and all the things important to the student.

PHS senior Logan Butson termed it “what we wanted and what we were good at, to connect what you’re good at with what you want to accomplish.”

PHS senior Tristan Hirsch said he’s learned “how to apply the skills you’ve acquired over time that you’ve never used before this.”

Group meetings have included guest speakers, including Hirsch’s father, Mark, author of That Tree.

“Your passions turn into your job, and you don’t see it as a hobby anymore,” said Tristan. “But then you go learn how to balance it out and enjoy your passions, not just do them.”

PHS sophomore Maria Bast said she’s learned about “being more responsible and stepping up to my job in the community and giving back to other people who support us,” as well as “being able to understand people better.”

“It’s really inspiring and motivating to work with highly inspired and highly motivated people,” said Inglett.

The Headfakes group will have a fundraiser Party in the Park at Smith Park in Platteville Saturday at 3 p.m. Activities include a three-on-three basketball tournament, a silent auction from 3 to 6 p.m., bingo, a talent show, a Platteville teacher dunk tank, and a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar-eating contest.

Proceeds from the event will fund a PHS scholarship for a graduating senior, which will be given out at the PHS awards night Monday at 7 p.m.

“One of the things I learned is leadership roles and stepping up to the plate and getting stuff done, especially with this event,” said Butson, a member of the football team that played in the WIAA state football championship last November. “I learned leadership roles this fall, but learning to apply them to a real-life situation is what I got.”

“The three-on-three will bring the jocks, the talent show will bring a larger number of people,” said Hirsch. “The Dilly Bar eating contest — who doesn’t like food?”