Last month (February 2020), Trent College was delighted to welcome Ali Jawad to the school to share his inspirational story from war-torn Lebanon to the Paralympics, to pupils in Years 9-11. A second talk followed that evening for Sport Scholars and BTEC Sport pupils as well as parents and invited guests, with a deeper focus into Ali’s advocacy for clean sport.
Ali’s honest account of the highs and lows of his sporting career and personal health provided pupils with a new perspective on the key messages of the school’s Positive Education programme. Ali brought to life the specific areas pupils are encouraged to develop such as a strong character, healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude – all of which offer unquestionable benefits throughout life as well as underpinning strong academic performance.
Speaking from the heart and his own experiences, Ali equipped the pupils with advice and inspiration on how they can develop the tools and mind-set to help them go further:
‘Impossible goals’ have provided Ali with the determination he needed when growing up and facing challenges. “If goals are realistic then they have been done before, instead be the first person to achieve them.”
“No matter how tough you have it, no-one is entitled to luck” explained Ali. This was a grounding realisation for pupils as they could see what could be achieved with determination, persistence and hard work in the face of considerable adversity.
Enjoying the sport has been fundamental to Ali’s success. At the start of his journey he never thought he would be tested to the levels he has experienced but despite the setbacks he has continued to chase his dreams. “Live every day with a smile on your face” were the parting words passed onto pupils as they reflected on their own unique combination of character strengths.
Foundations for the future
Ali’s talk was just one part of a vast programme of events organised for pupils through our experienced careers team. The programme includes regular talks from a wide range of professionals, hearing real experiences from real people inspires our pupils to consider new perspectives and possibilities for the future.