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Nancy Shugart

Nancy Shugart

Founder and President, Prove Them Wrong
On Feb. 8, Nancy Shugart will scratch an item off her Bucket List as she gives her first TED Talk.

“I’ve always wanted to be part of it,” she said of the program she called, “riveting.”

Shugart spent 21 years as a teacher in the Austin public schools, but getting there is her own “riveting” tale.

It all began at the tender age of 8, when Shugart fell victim to blindness. Her ophthalmologist never told her family she was legally blind, and Shugart said the only medical intervention provided to her was a small magnifying glass to help her see the type in her text books.

“I just had this tiny magnifying glass,” she said, “… and there was no way I was going to use that in front of my classmates.”

Instead, she saved all of her classwork to do at home, and she grew more and more miserable.

“It would take me one hour to read one page,” she said. “I thought, ‘I can’t go on like this.’ At one point, I was not only going to drop out of high school, but out of life.

“Then things started to happen to turn me around,” Shugart said.

“The more I looked around, the more I listened, I noticed there were so many people who had encountered enormous obstacles and yet they had gone on to achieve incredible success,” she said.

That’s when she made her most important decision. “No one could be an expert on my life,” she said. “Since kindergarten, I had wanted to be a teacher and everyone but my parents said no, and I began to believe them.”

It’s a valuable lesson she wants to impart to those around her. “I want the people in the audience to know they have bold and creative ideas, and I want them to be committed to their bold ideas,” she said.

Shugart said she will tell her story and invite her audience “to walk with me, to see the obstacles I faced and to realize that no matter how difficult, quitting can never be an option.

“I want them to come in with their idea and leave with the determination that they will be the one to make it – to come in with bold ideas.”

Watch her TEDxTalk.