The following good news story is an update to the previous story published on September 9, 2021, titled, J.D. Hodgson Elementary School students fight for local athletes to be added to the Haliburton Mural Wall of Sports Heroes.
On June 18, the Haliburton County community came together for a long overdue celebration to recognize the achievements of two local athletes, 1996 Olympian Lesley Tashlin and CFL player Taly William (1990’s), at an unveiling ceremony at the A.J. LaRue Community Centre. These two athletes are also siblings!
Over the past year, a group of Grade 7 and 8 students from J.D. Hodgson Elementary School (JDH) worked with the Municipality of Dysart et al Town Council to ensure the brother and sister duo were included on the “wall of sports heroes” alongside fellow Haliburton sport heroes. Various fundraising efforts and campaigns took place, with a total of $35,000 raised to support the creation of the murals.
Grade 8 JDH French Immersion and Grade 7/8 Core French Teacher, Marina Thomazo, and students Ella Gervais, Erika Hoare, Silas Ram, Cheyenne Degeer, Sierra Moore, Clare Phippen, and Freyja Neimann-Rowe, were all present at the unveiling.
“One of my many roles as an educator is to give students the opportunity to become active citizens. Often, it’s the students who decide on a destination, and with guidance we begin to pave the road together. This year, our destination was clear, we wanted to have Lesley and Taly on this wall. To get there, the road came with twists and turns, red lights, and hurdles. With determination and patience, we navigated together towards our destination and if we did not know how to proceed, we asked for help, and this time help came flooding in. Today, we reached our destination. Two outstanding murals celebrating Lesley and Taly’s accomplishments are now on this wall,” said Thomazo.
“We are here today because we identify with Lesley and Taly. They grew up here just like us, they attended the same schools, they played sports in the same gym, or on the same track and field, and their success started here in Haliburton. And that inspires us!” said Ella. “We had a dream of having them on the wall of sports heroes since February 2021 when we learned about them in class. We wanted this town to celebrate their impressive accomplishments with us and we made it our mission. Today our dream comes true. But we did not do it alone – our community and beyond carried us there.”