Shelby Newkirk is a rising stars in the world of Paralympic swimming and the former Silverspring School student will share her inspirational story with current Silverspring students on Oct. 11
Newkirk, who currently juggles classes at the University of Saskatchewan with international competitions, won four gold medals at the Canada Summer Games and was named flag bearer for Team Saskatchewan. She holds seven Canadian records and two North American records as a Paralympic swimmer.
The 21-year-old was recently awarded a $10,000 FACE (Fueling Athlete and Coaching Excellence) grant by Petro-Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Grants are awarded to athletes (along with their coach) who have great potential to represent Canada at Olympic and Paralympic Games. Recipients with exceptionally inspirational stories, like Newkirk, are also invited to make FACE The Future school visits.
When she was 13 Newkirk was diagnosed with dystonia, a disorder which causes involuntary muscle contractions and left her without the use of her right foot. She needs the assistance of her coach to get onto the starting block, as her right foot strength is compromised, but says that swimming gives her a sense of liberation.
"Swimming was something I could still do even after this happened. I love the competitiveness and the feeling of control that I have in the water, because I don't feel like I have a lot of control normally," said Newkirk. "Silverspring believes in quality daily physical education, and is a Healthy Bodies Active Minds school, so I'm excited to visit."
During a school assembly, Newkirk will share with students the message of how positivity is an excellent way to overcome obstacles and will help present a special framed photo to the school.