Paralympian Lewis offers inspiring message – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

Log In

Reset Password

Paralympian Lewis offers inspiring message

First Prev 1 2 Next Last

Two-time Paralympian Jessica Lewis has inspired CedarBridge Academy pupils to overcome their problems.

Ms Lewis, 25, spoke to pupils at the school yesterday about adversity and determination as part of a series of talks organised by the Chain Reaction Movement, an anti-bullying and anti-violence group.

Ms Lewis was born with a condition called diastematomyelia — a split in her spine which left her paralysed from the waist down and a wheelchair user.

She competed for Bermuda at the London Paralympic Games in 2012 and the Rio games four years later.

CedarBridge S3 pupil Zuriah Gibson-Daniels said that, like Ms Lewis, she had doubters when she decided to become a boxer two years ago.

Zuriah added: “People would say, ‘oh you're a girl, you shouldn't be doing that' or ‘you shouldn't mess up your teeth'. But it's my sport that I want to do.”

She said Ms Lewis's talk had helped foster a sense of independence.

Zuriah added: “I don't have to follow this person next to me.

“You shouldn't have to follow people around just to be a part of the popular group or just to fit in. It makes no sense.”

Savannah Jeronimo, also an S3 student, said that Ms Lewis had inspired her to “overcome obstacles”.

She explained she was a model, but was below the usual height requirements for the catwalk.

Savannah said that Ms Lewis's message of overcoming physical limitations was something she could relate to.

Savannah explained: “I use it in a positive manner. I don't take it as criticism.

“When I do modelling I tend to wear higher heels or take pictures at different angles.”

Dequan Trott, an S1 student, said that Ms Lewis had demolished the idea “that we can't achieve something because of who we are or what we come from”.

Ms Lewis said that she had been approached in the past for advice by pupils after one of her presentations.

She added: “A few of them have told me about some challenging times that they're having in their life.

“Just being able to be a support for them, especially if they don't have that at home, has been really powerful for me.”

Ms Lewis said: “They have the potential inside of them to do anything and everything that they want to.”

Kenneth Caesar, acting principal at CedarBridge, said: “I think the one thing she was really able to underline to our students is the fact that there are really no limitations in life.”

Christopher Swan, the CedarBridge Academy's deputy principal, said Ms Lewis's inspiring message of understanding one's limitations but not being bound by them was something echoed by the school in the idea of the “growth mindset”.

Mr Swan explained: “I think this was really timely where they can see that each person can work hard on improving and, if they did a little bit each day, they can continue to grow and improve and overcome whatever obstacle life has given them.”

No limits: Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Lewis speaks to CedarBridge students (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
No limits: Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Lewis speaks to CedarBridge students (Photographs by Blaire Simmons)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 27, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated March 27, 2018 at 7:14 am)

Paralympian Lewis offers inspiring message

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon