Over 100 students and teachers will gather Monday at the Stratford Rotary Complex for the first ever “Learning Together” Student Symposium. 10 mixed ability student groups from 9 schools will participate in creating a vision of inclusion for their school. They will be treated throughout the day to special guest speakers, including Tess Trojan, Athlete Representative for the Special Olympics. Tess was a gold medal winner in golf at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, and won the 2012 Special Olympics golf championship. (Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Canada.)
Among the other special guests will be performer and motivational speaker Luca “Lazy Legs” Patuelli and Avon Maitland Student Trustee Kaitlinn Shaw. Luca was born with Arthrogryposis (multiplex congenita), a rare disorder that is explained by limited joint movement and poor muscle growth. At the age of 8, he was diagnosed with scoliosis, a condition affecting the curve of his spine. By the time Luca was 13, his spine had a 70 degree curvature and he underwent surgery which involved fusing 8 of his vertebrae and inserting a titanium rod alongside his spine. Over the course of his life, Luca has had a total of 16 surgeries. While growing up in Bethesda, Maryland, Luca never let his disability slow him down; actively participating in everyday activities such as swimming, diving, skiing, horseback riding, sailing, and skateboarding.
In 1999, at the age of 15, Luca discovered “B-boying” also known as Breakdancing. Although quite challenging at first, he began to learn moves and modified them to create his own unique style that incorporates both extreme upper body strength and the use of crutches. “Lazylegz” was born. (Bio and photo courtesy of http://lazylegz.com)
The Learning Together Student Symposium gets underway at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 2:30 p.m.