“Let’s Talk” Mental Health Day: SD73 is Proud to be Partnering with SD73 Graduate

Posted On Friday January 26, 2024

Story provided by Carol DeFehr, Principal of Aberdeen Elementary School

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we are committed to students' wellbeing and to learning from mentors and role models about how to experience life challenges from a growth mindset.

Greg Stewart (BBA '12) is well known in Kamloops as a former TRU WolfPack athlete and Paralympic world champion. Stewart won a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, persevering through delays and the COVID-19 pandemic to throw a Paralympic record of 16.75 m. He is a multi-sport athlete, winning extensive accolades on the basketball and volleyball courts. He is also a personal empowerment coach and motivational speaker, using his experiences to champion excellence, mental wellness, and vulnerability.

On Friday January 26th at Aberdeen Elementary, Greg Stewart gave two inspirational talks. He provided empowering messages to the primary students and then the intermediate students. He used three words to motivate the children: Trust, Ownership and Integrity.

He asked the students, "Who here is different?" He told them he expected them all to raise their hands because we are all unique. He shared that he has two disabilities; his height at 7'2 and how he has to navigate life being so tall and also how he was born missing the bottom portion of his left arm.

He talked about his life in sport both on team and as an elite shot put athlete. He reminded the children to have a growth mindset and push their limits. Greg said "You need to show resilience and push through the hard stuff and you need to trust that even if you have a hard day at school, you are going to be okay and so will the outcome." Lastly, he asked the children not to judge or make assumptions about others. He celebrated the diversity in our gym and told the kids to find joy in their day and remember that they have lots to be happy about.

The students gave Greg a round of applause, a power clap and all showed Greg the school theme in sign language while they verbally also said to him #havecourageandbekind.

Greg’s goal is to speak to students at each school in the district around mental health, mindfulness and how our choices impact our community. He wants children and youth to know the importance of mental health, reducing stigma and knowing help to help themselves and others if mental health challenges arise.

The District is excited and appreciative of Greg spreading his positive message with students throughout the District and we wish him well in his return to training for the next Paralympics.

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