Olympic fever hits Halifax schools as Olympians visit
Olympic spirit alive and well at Shannon Park Elementary, LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary School
Students in Halifax are celebrating the Olympic games with the help of some special guests.
At Shannon Park Elementary School, hundreds of students between the ages of five and 12 held their own Olympic Opening ceremony.
Students — carrying tiny flags and big dreams — got a very big surprise.
Olympian Kimiko Willgress, a snowboarder who competed in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, showed up to meet the kids. She said small gymnasiums, like the one at the school, are where Olympic dreams begin.
"That's how my Olympic dream started, was coming to an assembly. It was Silken Laumann who came and spoke. And, if I remember back to being that age, it was like a superhero came into our school," said Willgress.
Student Barbara Ellis said she and the students had no idea they would meet a real live Olympian.
"I didn't know at all," she said. "I know she's a regular human being. I know that much but it's just I'm meeting her and it's really exciting."
That kind of excitement can be contagious — at least gym teacher Erin Kyte hopes so.
"If you put it out there to these kids, someone is going to latch onto it and there's over 500 kids in the gym today and I hope that someone will take that and run with it because they are all very talented," said Kyte.
The kids at LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary School also got an Olympic surprise Monday. London 2012 swimmer David Sharpe visited the school.
Sharpe has been giving talks to schools he formerly attended. The 23-year-old is sharing his Olympic story to inspire the kids.
"It's great to share my story with little kids and it's great to see their reaction. You talk about the journey you've been on. They get really excited hearing about the Olympics," he said.
Sharpe didn't make the medal race in London, but he told the students to pursue their dreams and never give up.
"My experience in sport has shaped me as a person but coming here with the kids is really motivating to know how much they can relate to your story, about being young and playing sports, having dreams and goals," he said.
"It's great seeing that they are motivated by you as well."