School is officially out for summer but something that took place just before it ended, involving an Aldergrove Community Secondary student, brought one teacher to tears and it was too big a moment not to share, said Brookswood teacher Dino Camparmo.
ACSS Grade 12 student Sam Way inspired hundreds, including fellow students, his principal and family, by refusing to give up, finishing a 400m run despite falling down several times.
Way was participating in Operation Trackshoes in June, with the Langley team made up of students from Aldergrove, Brookswood, D.W. Poppy and Walnut Grove.
Operation Trackshoes is an annual provincial sports festival for people with developmental disabilities.
Camparmo is the co-ordinator for the Langley team and has been helping at this event for more than five years.
“Most of us would find running one lap around the track difficult. Try running 400m with a splint on your leg. If that isn’t enough, trying running 400m with gross motor control issues.
“This did not stop Sam today,” wrote Camparmo in a letter to the school district.
“He started off the race strong, but fatigue settled in near the 300m mark. Sam lost his balance and fell to the track.
Two things happened that moment that showed the power of the human spirit: First, I was inspired by Sam’s will to compete. . . Sam got back on his feet, only to stumble again on to the track.
But this was not going to stop him….he was going to finish the race and he did,” wrote Camparmo.
“Secondly, I was amazed by the compassion and kindness of Sam’s teammates.
“When they saw Sam lose his balance, several of them got up and ran to assist him. . . They were beside Sam for each of his next falls…helping him back up, running, cheering and clapping until he crossed the finish line.
Sam finished last in the race, however his determination to finish and his teammates’ compassion will always be first in my mind.”
ACSS principal John Pusic said he isn’t surprised to hear of Sam’s determination.
“He is an inspiration to us all. He has such a positive attitude and never quits,” said Pusic.
Way came to high school in a wheelchair. He was determined to not use it.
“And now look, not only is he not using it, he is running,” said Pusic.
Sam formally graduated the year before but was back for a few classes this year.
When he graduated, he walked across the stage to get his diploma.
“Several of us still have that picture framed and in our office,” he said.
Way was unavailable for comment, because he is on vacation.