Featherstone’s Girls on the Run Team treated to virtual visit from an Olympian
Posted on 10/30/2019
Featherstone ES' Girls on the Run Team posing with their arms up in the air.  Text; Featherstone’s Girls on the Run Team get advice from an Olympic Gold Medalist

Featherstone Elementary School kicked off their Girls on the Run (GOTR) program with 27 participants. Thanks to a personal connection of Fourth-Grade Teacher Tracy-Ann Campbell-Walcott, students were treated to a virtual visit from Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Campbell-Walcott is a cultural exchange ambassador with Participate Learning from Jamaica and is a friend of Fraser-Pryce, a fellow Jamaican and a track and field sprinter who won the 100-meter gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing -- a feat that made her the first Caribbean woman to win a gold medal in this event.

Featherstone Elementary’s GOTR team talked with Fraser-Pryce via a Skype session a week before she competed in the world championships in Doha. The Olympic athlete told the girls about getting back in top running form after having her baby two-years ago. She motivated the girls with stories of her life growing up in Jamaica and told them, “Anything you put your mind to, you can achieve.” She also joked with them as she talked about her self-esteem by saying, “Girls who run look good!”

The talk with Fraser-Pryce reinforces the goals of GOTR, a national organization that supports girls through lessons on self-esteem, bullying, friendships, nutrition and a range of other topics.

Fraser-Pryce reminded them, “Some days it’s not about winning, it’s about doing your best and showing up.” These words of inspiration have resonated with the students as they come to practice twice a week and build their endurance. They are already running over two-miles and are looking forward to completing a 5K run in November. Another Skype session is planned for after this event so the students can share their own stories of success.

“It was really exciting because I have never talked to someone famous before,” commented fourth-grader Gabriela Lazo. “She inspired me to never give up and that it is not always about winning but about hard work, having confidence and believing in yourself,” she added.

Gabriela’s classmate, Diana Zarco, said “It was exciting, and I was really happy because she is one of the fastest women in the world! When I grow up, I want to be just like her! She has inspired me because she has won 4 gold medals. And she encouraged me to work hard to achieve my goals and most importantly believe in myself.”

Coach Alicia Gomez, P.E. teacher at Featherstone Elementary, adds that “the GOTR program is so important because it helps build confidence. The lessons engage the girls into deeper thinking and have brought them out of their shells. You can see the difference this program is making within just a few weeks. I am happy to be a part of such a meaningful program and glad that we as coaches can help make a difference in our students' lives.”

Campbell-Walcott and Gomez coach Featherstone Elementary’s GOTR team along with Assistant Principal Vineeth Lagouit, ESOL Teacher Laura Shepard and Preschool Teacher Emily Sasz.