St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and the Friends of South Cumberland State Park will host Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, the 103-year-old woman who wowed the world this summer as the oldest participant in the Senior Olympic Games in New Mexico. Her short talk “How Nature’s Magic Moments Can Keep You Young” will begin at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, September 10, followed by a Q & A, and a reception in her honor. The talk will take place at McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts on the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee campus.
Hawkins received widespread publicity this summer following the Senior Olympics. She was highlighted by all major news networks, has been featured on NPR, in the New York Times and Runners World, and has appeared three times in Sports Illustrated.
Hawkins, from Baton Rouge, has strong ties to SAS and this community. Both her granddaughters are SAS alumni; and her daughter, Margaret Matens, who lives in Monteagle, was Director of Public Relations at SAS for 17 years.
According to Matens, “My mom attributes much of her longevity and positive outlook on life to her love of nature. She is an avid naturalist, birder, gardener, flower arranger, and bonsai tree expert. The June New York Times headline read ‘She’s 103 and Just Ran the 100-Meter Dash. Her Life Advice? Look for Magic Moments.’”
These moments all involve the out-of-doors — dew on spider webs, a sunrise, or a newly-hatched lizard.
“In addition to being very old and in amazing shape, my mother is an inspiration to all of us to enjoy the beauty around us and stay fit by staying outdoors. And she loves to share her story,” explained Matens.