BERWICK – Terry Kelly is a Canadian award-winning singer-songwriter, athlete, Paralympian and professional speaker.
Terry Kelly is also blind.
“I can’t see a thing – really, not a thing – but that didn’t stop me. I made a dream-adjustment, figured out how to use my strengths to overcome my challenges, and here I am today,” said Kelly while presenting to Berwick and District School students Dec. 19.
The students learned diversity – whether in abilities, ethnicity, language, or otherwise – is something to be proud of at the school’s annual ‘Celebrating our Diverse Community’ event, which has become known at the school as Diversity Day.
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This year, students were treated to a presentation and performances by the Canadian artist and athlete, who originates from Newfoundland and attended the Halifax School for the Blind.
Kelly spoke to the students and said that despite their differences, all people are fundamentally the same because they are all just people.
“We all want to be loved, we all want to be appreciated, we all want to be able to make our dreams come true, so we’re similar in many ways,” he said.
He also encouraged students to get rid of the words ‘I can’t’ and instead use ‘dream-adjustments’ like he did when pursuing their goals – identifying their weaknesses, and finding strengths that can help them overcome them.
Grade 6 students Kate DeLaney and Aidan Boylan said the day was full of learning opportunities in ways neither of them expected.
“I think Diversity Day reminds me of Pink Day, when we wear pink for anti-bullying. It helps with our learning, and it’s nice to see we’re all the same,” said DeLaney.
While the art classes were DeLaney’s favourite of the day, Boyland said his favourite part was Kelly’s presentation because he was surprised that Kelly was such a good musician and also blind.
“It was really cool because it showed he is special, and learned to do so many amazing things. It was so inspiring to listen to, and I didn’t realize it would be that fun – it was not a boring day. It was really, really fun,” he said.
School principal Bill Doucet said the school hosted nine different sessions including learning about Mi’kmaq culture, yoga, world music and Arabic, and presentations facilitated by Berwick Paralympian Ben Brown and the Halifax Youth Project.
Doucet said the event will continue teaching students each year about the world they are part of, and how vibrant it is – in all its different aspects.
“What I want them to take away is that they are part of a larger community that is diverse and special and supports them, and that they contribute to,” he said.