Clara Hughes stops in Cornwall during Big Ride

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Olympian Clara Hughes with a pair of Holy Trinity Secondary School students.

By Steven Smeall

CORNWALL, Ontario - On Day 12 of her cross-country bike tour, Clara Hughes made a stop in at Holy Trinity Secondary School where she spoke to students about mental awareness.  

Many students from Holy Trinity and various other local schools sat in the school gymnasium as Hughes told them about her experiences with mental health.  

Holy Trinity’s leadership program was tasked with organizing Hughes’ visit and dealt with an unexpected change of plans.  

“She showed up two hours earlier because she had such a strong wind on her back,” said leadership program leader Hailey Dickson. “But it turned out well because our whole school was able to go out and greet her. It was unfortunate though as some of the community could not make it.”  

Despite the earlier appearance, the event was still a big success for those who were able to attend.  

“She was amazing,” said Dickson. “She was an incredible speaker and her message was so strong.”  

Hughes told the students various stories about her life when she dealt with mental health, some that involved those close to her and some when she dealt with depression.  

“It was nice hearing it from her,” said leadership student Veronica Rios-Rodriguez. “When someone actually tells you their story you connect more with them.”  

The event related to Holy Trinity’s mental awareness programs. The school offers students a chance to report issues through an app called ‘Empowered’.

The app allows students to send anonymous text messages to the school’s principal and vice principal, allowing them to take control of issues before they get out of hand.   Hughes made another stop Tuesday night in Akwesansne. Her tour will continue to Montreal Wednesday.

Organizations: Big Ride, Holy Trinity Secondary School

Geographic location: Holy Trinity, Cornwall, Ontario Akwesansne Montreal

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