Each year, as part of the school-wide Mental Health Awareness Week events, P.A.W.S. hosts a Wellness Day for our students. This year, everyone enjoyed a presentation by 3-time Canadian Olympic Bob-Sledder, Neville Wright. Students listened eagerly as Neville spoke at length about his journey, which began as a rising star in track and field and eventually shifted to a long and successful career as a premier member of both the 2- and 4-man national bobsleigh teams.
As a youth growing up in Edmonton, Neville participated in all sports available through his school and community, and focused on track when he attended the University of Alberta. In his 2nd year of university, he was scouted by and then made a member of Team Canada, and he went on to compete for his country as a national and international level sprinter. Toward the end of his university time, he was invited to try out for Bobsleigh Canada, and, from 2009 to present, has since competed in 3 Olympics, as well as in several World Cup and other international competitions. As brakeman for his 2- and 4-man sleighs, he is responsible for much of the pushing required to launch the sled and power its momentum, as well as for control throughout the run, especially toward the finish. While still competing for Bobsleigh Canada, Neville is also an Acceleration & Speed coach, and works in physiotherapy. Between training sessions and competitions, he also tours to provide motivational messages urging listeners to believe in themselves, build upon their skills, and work toward their goals.
Through videos, candid stories, and audience participation, Neville’s message to students was clear: if you have a goal, no matter how big, it is achievable only through hard work, determination, and heart. This man, who appears larger than life to many of our students, spoke about the adversity he faced along the way and how thankful he was for the apparent ‘failures’ he encountered because they provided great learning experiences and motivation to work harder and never give up. Missing the opportunity to compete as an Olympic sprinter by 1/200th of a second and experiencing 2 crashes on bobsleigh tracks motivated Neville Wright to consider his training more closely and to work both smarter and harder. Students were urged to try every sport, listen to all information, to work hard and smart, and apply what they know to set and achieve their goals. Students came away from this presentation inspired to push forward towards their goals, with the knowledge that they can achieve what they set out to accomplish if they plan, put in maximum effort, and continue working despite setbacks and hardships.
Check out a slideshow of images from the Wellness Day presentations in our Photo Galleries.