I’ve always assumed that all provinces have Teachers’ Convention. But recently, I realized how lucky we are to have these two paid days of learning and networking. Many other provinces do not.
The highlight of this year’s convention was Clara Hughes. She had me simultaneously laughing and in tears, inspired and moved.
Yes, she’s a world class athlete. Yes, she has won Olympic medals in two sports: cycling and speed skating. Yes, she’s the only Canadian to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. And yes, she has even been named to the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada. Yet what I admire about her goes beyond her many accomplishments in sport.
Clara Hughes battles depression. She has faced a lifetime dealing with mental illness and addiction, her own and that of her immediate family. Living a childhood in fear and uncertainty led Clara down a path of drinking and drugs. Yet she persevered and found both promise and purpose in sport. She has discovered ways to turn anger to forgiveness, despair to joy and disappointment to hope.
Her boundless energy (you have to meet her to know this is not hyperbole) is now channelled into helping others: kids through the Right to Play program and others dealing with mental illness through Bell Let’s Talk, for instance. Clara Hughes shows strength and courage in her daily life. For this, she is a hero.