Olympian DeeDee Trotter inspires first-graders in DeKalb
Caption: During a surprise visit in Atlanta, Gold medal Olympian DeeDee Trotter teaches kids how to take off for a race.
The young children beamed and happily passed around gold medals belonging to Olympian and Decatur native DeeDee Trotter, who paid a visit to Christine Elizabeth Academy in Atlanta.
The surprise guest of DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johns talked to the children about hard work, dedication and never giving up on your dreams.
“This is a lot of fun. We had a natural leader in that group. That’s what I’m talking about. I’ll be looking out for her,” Trotter said of one of the first graders in the classroom where she spoke. “I hope I gave them some hope and inspiration. I feed off their excitement.
Trotter, who graduated from DeKalb County’s Cedar Grove High School in 2001 and went on to win gold in track and field as an Olympian in 2004 and 2012, said she has a passion for encouraging young people. Commissioner Johnson took her around District 3 to meet some of his youngest constituents. Johnson took Trotter to about five schools to talk to kids while she was back home visiting family before she heads to Los Angeles to begin training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“The classroom is my first passion. I love being in one as often as I can within my very busy and often hectic schedule,” Trotter said.
In addition to encouraging students to work hard in the classroom, Trotter also spoke on the importance of staying active and avoiding childhood obesity. She says she plans to return to DeKalb in October to host a “Trot in the Park” and other health-related events.
“We want to take every chance we can to encourage everyone in the community, especially our children, to keep active, to keep going towards living a healthy lifestyle,” said Trotter, who helped cut the ribbon on a new outdoor workout center at Gresham Park before coming to the school. “Childhood obesity is something that’s been definitely growing and it is our job as a community to do what we can to keep that demographic down and not let it go up,” said Trotter.
Students in Ms. Halpen’s first grade class received autographs from Trotter and water bottles from Commissioner Johnson.
“This really made my day. I’m sure our teachers were excited and I know the class was just as excited as I was,” said School Principal Norman Thomas, Jr. “We appreciate Commissioner Johnson for bringing Ms. Trotter here to show them that someone who grew up right where they are can win it all and bring home the gold.”
Johnson said it’s important for kids to meet positive people like Trotter.
“This is inspiration and motivation at its finest. DeeDee lives in this community. She’s from here. She made it and this shows young people they can be and do whatever they want to be,” said Johnson. “You can’t beat that. You have to leave these seeds for our children. You can’t be what you can’t see.”
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