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Maine Olympian Inspiring Middle Schoolers in Hampden 

Hampden students heard firsthand from an Olympic athlete Monday.

Maine native Julia Clukey shared stories at Reeds Brook Middle School of her luge career, inspiring students that they too can be whatever they want to be.

“I was a 12-year-old girl from Augusta, Maine. Fell in love with the sport and worked hard at it. And really if you work hard at anything, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish,” said Clukey, who is currently in her off season.

“Really exciting to have our small town school get this huge Olympian to be here. So it’s really exciting for all the students to meet this really awesome woman,” said Student Council Vice President Bryce Derosby, a seventh grader.

Clukey told students to take advantage of opportunities, to work hard and set goals.

She shared with students how she recently achieved one of hers.

“Getting my degree. It took ten years. It took me twelve years to make the Olympic team so they’re both very similar in the amount of time,” she said.

An electrical engineering degree nonetheless.

Clukey stressed even when you face adversity–never give up.

She shared how she missed qualifying for the 2014 Olympic team by 13 thousandths of a second, but she’s still training: her next goal the 2018 Winter games.

“Julia Clukey has been a huge role model for all of us students here at Reeds Brook. Just to think that she’s been an amazing athlete and such a hard working student with everything she’s done. I think she’s someone that everyone can look up to and it’s a very great thing to have her here,” said 12-year-old Student Council President Bryan Frost.

8th grader Alanna Thomas was surprised to be chosen for the “Julia Clukey Courage” Award.

Her fellow students say they picked her because she’s positive and kind, despite dealing with health issues…

“I’m very honored. I didn’t think that I would get it. I just thought, ‘oh that’s a cool award.’ But I’m very honored,” said Thomas.

“There’s a lot of courage displayed in our school, so I think it was a great opportunity to represent someone who makes a big difference in our school,” said 14-year-old Student Council Secretary Rachel Gardella.

“And if they go home thinking that the community believes in them, then that’s a great day,” said Clukey.

Clukey is speaking to students at other schools around the state throughout April and May:

April 4, 2016 – Reeds Brook Middle School, 12:30 p.m.
April 12, 2016 – Bonny Eagle High School, 8 a.m.
April 29, 2016 – Whitefield Elementary School, 8:30 a.m.
May 2, 2016 – John Bapst Memorial High School, 9:50 a.m.
May 6, 2016 – Auburn Middle School, 1 p.m.
May 10, 2016 – Machias Memorial High School,1 p.m.
May 11, 2016 – Cony Middle School, 7:20 a.m.
May 11, 2016 – Cony High School, 9:15 a.m.
May 19, 2016 – Erskine Academy, 9:30 a.m.

Schools can request a presentation at no cost by visiting clukeyluge.com.