On Friday, May 20, Olympian Julia Clukey reached more than 500 students in the local area as part of her new “Julia Inspires” campaign when she spoke to students at Orono Middle School and the Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford. At each assembly, Clukey encouraged students to find their passion, create a plan and go after their dreams.

Also after each presentation, she honored a student with the Julia Clukey Courage Award. George Grindle received the award at Orono Middle School and Hailey Gerrish was honored at Dr. Lewis S. Libby School.

“George is a really hard working student that has found a lot of activities that he is passionate about and he has a bright future ahead of him,” said Clukey.

Orono middle school teachers selected Grindle to receive the award because of his ability to overcome obstacles he has faced in the classroom, plus his strong self-advocacy and leadership skills in and out of school. As an eighth grader, he is currently involved in the Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scouts, and the Operation Breaking Stereotypes group.

State Senator Jim Dill, who serves District 5, which includes Orono, joined Clukey at the event and helped present the Julia Clukey Courage Award.

On Friday afternoon Clukey traveled to the Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford and to share her presentation and honored Hailey Gerrish with the Julia Clukey Courage Award.

“Hailey has overcome a lot of adversity and emerged a stronger person, and is a great inspiration for her classmates. You could see from the reaction of the students when they gave her a standing ovation, they have a lot of respect for her,” said Clukey.

Gerrish, an eighth grader, is known by her teachers and peers for her strength and ability to push herself every day and to help others, as well. She advocates for herself and shows great courage each day.

To date, Clukey has shared her story at 58 Maine schools, reaching more than 18,000 students. The Augusta native is scheduled to present at several more schools across the state this spring, summer and early fall.

The presentation was provided at no cost to the school as part of her “Julia Inspires” campaign that continues to build on her success as spokesperson for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association (MBWDA). The new campaign is made possible by the MBWDA. Middle and high school administrators can request a presentation atwww.clukeyluge.com.

Clukey continues to train for her 19th season in the sport of luge. This summer, she will host Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls at Camp KV in Readfield. She has set a goal to compete in the sport of luge at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


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