If a public school encourages such characteristics among its student body as persistence, commitment, endurance and achievement, it couldn’t come up with a better match in Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes.
So it is that students readying to attend a new Oshawa elementary school next year will be entering Clara Hughes Public School.
A six-time Olympic medallist in two sports (cycling and speed skating), a tireless advocate for charities, and a respected citizen who has readily and candidly discussed her challenges with depression, Ms. Hughes charmed the students during a visit last week in their current home at the former Donovan Collegiate.
Her impact on amateur sport and her leadership in communities across Canada are undeniable. In that context, it’s not at all surprising that Durham District School Board trustees chose to name the school after Ms. Hughes among the 30 names formally suggested.
In the simplest terms, Ms. Hughes embodies the very best of Canada and Canadians. She underscored that during her visit with her low-key but inspiring presence and encouraged students not to ever give up themselves. She also spoke of the importance of big dreams, of reaching higher and further, and of the importance of support.
Indeed, Ms. Hughes’s display of the medals she has collected in her Olympic competitions served as symbols, not just of her achievement in earning them, but in the stories behind their attainment and the meaning that they hold for her.
Finally, there is something to be said about the fact that students attending the new school — scheduled to open in 2014 — will be able to identify with and work actively towards achievement in a school named after a living, active and well-known Canadian. They will shape the culture and embody the principles of commitment and achievement with a sense of living up to the expectations of their school’s namesake.
Credit is due to trustees for choosing to name the new school after such an inspiring Canadian, and to Ms. Hughes not only for her accomplishments on behalf of a proud nation, but for her humble acceptance of the honour.
As a Canadian who has reached the heights of athletic achievement, Ms. Hughes might suggest to those students today that they should adopt the Olympic creed: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger).
— Oshawa This Week