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Paralympian Inspires Pelham Students

Paralympic rower Jaclyn Smith spoke with students at Colonial School on Friday, Dec. 16. Smith, who helped Team USA to a silver medal, is partially blind and talked to students about diversity. The discussion was moderated by parent Dave Mingey.
Paralympic rower Jaclyn Smith spoke with students at Colonial School on Friday, Dec. 16. Smith, who helped Team USA to a silver medal, is partially blind and talked to students about diversity. The discussion was moderated by parent Dave Mingey. Photo Credit: Contributed

PELHAM, N.Y. -- Students at Colonial Elementary School in Pelham recently received a visit from athlete Jaclyn Smith, who helped Team USA win a silver medal in para-rowing at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Smith, a Long Island native who is legally blind, was welcomed into the Colonial School gym with chants of “USA, USA. . .” from students in grades K-5.

Following a video presentation about the Paralympic Games, Smith explained to students how she overcame her disability both in school and in athletic competitions.

She said while she had difficulty with some sports, such as softball, volleyball and basketball, she found a match with rowing.

“If you believe in yourself and you won’t stop until you get where you want to be, some pretty cool things will happen,” said Smith.

The assembly, which was moderated by Colonial parent Dave Mingey, is part of the school’s Diversity Initiative.

“Our goal is to help all students, as well as the broader Colonial community, celebrate the many unique qualities, characteristics and beliefs that make us who we are,” said Colonial Principal Tonya Wilson. “Through a series of experiential learning activities during this academic year, we’ll enable our students to figuratively ‘develop their Kaleidoscope,’ through which they can be inspired by the world’s diversity.”

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