Parkland graduate featured on ‘The Amazing Race’

Peter Floess

Photo courtesy of CBS Parkland graduate Alex Manard (right) competes with his teammate and cousin Adam Dingeman (left) of Valley Village, Calif. during the CBS show “The Amazing Race” over the summer. Manard made it to Buenos Aries before being eliminated from the show.

Photo courtesy of CBS
Parkland graduate Alex Manard (right) competes with his teammate and cousin Adam Dingeman (left) of Valley Village, Calif. during the CBS show “The Amazing Race” over the summer. Manard made it to Buenos Aries before being eliminated from the show.

Staff Writer

A Parkland graduate traveled around the world to compete in the popular CBS show “The Amazing Race.”

Alex Manard of Champaign and his cousin Adam Dingeman of Valley Village, Calif. applied to the CBS show, “The Amazing Race” so they could try going around the world in three weeks from late June to early July of 2015.

According to Manard, he and Dingeman applied to the “Amazing Race” online in April of 2014.

“We got a call in December saying we were under consideration. That following April we got a call saying we were on the show,” Manard said.

The first leg of the contest was to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which Manard remembers as “an awesome experience.”

In Rio, the cousins had to play beach volleyball against a local beach soccer team on a volleyball court on Copacabana Beach. Manard called this sport match his “favorite part” of being in Rio. At the end of the episode in Rio, Manard and Dingeman were in sixth place.

Manard remembers his second leg of the trip in Buenos Aires as being “extremely cool” because they got to sleep in the church where Pope Francis was baptized.

Manard also enjoyed collecting cardboard with the recyclable collectors, known as cartoneros, of Buenos Aires.

“Adam and I were having so much fun just being ourselves and collecting cardboard,” Manard said.

Manard and Dingeman came in last to the pit stop in Buenos Aries and were eliminated from the show.

Manard said the experience game him a whole new perspective on the world.

“There is so much more to experience than just in the United States. All I want to do now is travel and go on adventures,” Manard said.

Before Manard went on “The Amazing Race,” he went to Parkland College.

He fondly remembers receiving his coaching license from kinesiology instructor Chris Warren.

“Chris Warren was one of my favorite professors at Parkland. He helped and taught me so many different things about the human body and the kinesiology program at Parkland. He is an awesome professor and person and I would recommend him to anybody and everybody,” Manard said.

Warren said he remembers Manard, as someone who was “small in stature but has a big personality.”

“We called him ‘Big Al’ in class,” Warren said.

Warren believed that Manard enjoyed kinesiology classes because students would often have discussions about “hot topics.” Warren said that format of class “gave him the opportunity to share his thoughts and interact with his classmates.”

Study Abroad

At Parkland College, a person does not necessarily have to be on the “The Amazing Race” to see the world. Parkland College offers trips to Austria, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, Ireland, and Spain.

According to Jody Littleton, the study abroad coordinator, Parkland College and other community colleges share programs, so Parkland students can study in a number of countries.

Littleton believes that all students should have the chance to study abroad in college. She believes students should “work through the barriers of cost and time because it will be a life changing experience.”

One student, Marie Michelle Castle of Peoria, went to the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France through the Parkland study abroad program in the summer of 2015.

Castle believes that studying abroad has made her more tolerant of other people.

“I don’t know how to put it into words, the overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be able to go to school [in Dijon] with people from all over the world. France has given me the opportunity to learn French and also learn more about people [from all over the world],” Castle said.

“We’ve learned to be patient with each other when we don’t know the right word to say in French or English. It doesn’t matter where we are from or what we look like, at the end of the day we all want to be heard, we all want to be understood and we all want to be appreciated,” she added.