Paralympic gold medalist speaks at induction | ParkRecord.com

Paralympic gold medalist speaks at induction

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

Chris Waddell, winner of five Paralympic gold medals, spoke to newly inducted National Junior Honor Society members about commitment and aiming high. Photo Credit: Scott Sine

Five-time Paralympic gold medalist Chris Waddell praised the newest members of the National Junior Honor Society.

"Congratulations, you guys have done some great work," he said.

Before Waddell took the stage at Ecker Hill International Middle School, sixth- and seventh-graders were inducted into the society.

Kim Sobel greeted the audience and commended the students for their achievement.

"All of these students will be recognized because they have outstanding characteristics in five areas," she said.

Those five areas are scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship.

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Ecker Hill Principal, Greg Proffit congratulated the inductees, "who are passing one of many milestones in their educational career."

The names of 130 students were read as they filed onto the stage to collect their National Junior Honor Society certificates and pins.

After the inductees took their seats, Waddell, holder of 10 Paralympic medals, five of those gold, spoke to students about accomplishing goals.

He said at the beginning of his ski career he wanted to change the way people saw him.

"In order to do that, I had to be the best in the world," Waddell said, and that became his goal.

Some people told him it would never happen but three years later he won gold in the Paralympics in Norway.

"You set a goal that forces you to be at your very best," Waddell said.

Commitment also plays a key in helping a person realize their dreams.

"In our search for success it’s a lifetime commitment and we hope to continue getting better," Waddell said.

After a round of applause for Waddell, Sobel again congratulated the students and everyone adjourned for punch and cookies.

Newly inducted National Junior Honor Society member, Kai Czajka, said that to be part of the organization he had to demonstrate an ability to work with the community and excel at academics.

"I feel very honored and excited," he said about being a member.

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