Olympic medalist inspires Walnut Glen students

Walnut Glen Academy for Excellence recently received a special guest—Olympic taekwondo medalist Jackie Galloway. During her first speaking appearance since returning with a bronze from the Rio Olympics, Galloway inspired the Leopards with words of encouragement and strength. 

Greeted by congratulatory banners and signs, the 20-year-old North Texas native detailed her background, Olympic experience and never-give-up attitude.

“You have to have confidence in your hard work. If you guys work your hardest and try your best, you can do anything that you want to do,” she told the audience. “Do not let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big or too crazy.”

Students and staff were engaged and receptive of her message.

“This was amazing. It was a shivering experience for us to be the first group of children to meet and greet her,” said fifth-grader Alanna Vance. “I was just excited. I learned that you always try and never give up.”

In addition to hearing her motivational speech, students also got to hold Galloway’s medal, ask questions and have photo ops. The Olympic athlete hopes to make an impact through events like this.

“I am really honored to be here. This is a great opportunity to share my story, and if even one kid takes what I have to say and finds it inspiring, then it is completely worth it to me,” she said. “This is one of the benefits of having the title of Olympian. This has been such an amazing and surreal experience.”