Record-breaking para-swimmer inspires students at her former Saskatoon elementary school
21-year-old Shelby Newkirk broke world record in S7 100-metre backstroke
Rising star Shelby Newkirk made a visit to her former elementary school Wednesday to tell students about her journey from being diagnosed with dystonia, to discovering para swimming, to breaking a world record.
"Although I could never have foreseen it, I'm glad it turned out this way," said Newkirk.
Newkirk was diagnosed with dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, at 13.
She found freedom when she started swimming, and has excelled, breaking Canadian records. Earlier this month, she set a world record in the S7 100-metre backstroke at the Para-Swimming Canadian Open in Toronto.
Newkirk also attends university full-time. She hopes to be a teacher when she graduates.
"She's so friendly and outgoing and has this great attitude about life and obstacles in her way," said Sheena Hushagen, the acting principal at Silverspring School.
"I think she'd be a great mentor and great person to have in front of students."
Silverspring is a K-8 school with 450 students, and Newkirk held them under her spell during her short talk with a strong message:
"Whatever life throws at you, you can still smile and find something you love. With hard work, anything's possible, really," said Newkirk.
"We must have made a fairly good impression of hard work and perseverance and following your dreams," said Hushagen, adding that Shelby is welcome back anytime.