February 06, 2014 - 7:37 PM
KELOWNA – An assembly was held at Rutland Middle School Thursday afternoon to show support for a former student who is representing Canada at the 2014 Olympics.
Eric Neilson is currently in Sochi, Russia as he prepares to take on the best skeleton racers in the world. He graduated from Rutland Middle in 1996 and from Rutland Secondary in 1999.
The assembly was organized entirely by students of the school as a way of letting him know that his hard work is appreciated.
The school organized a cheerleading demonstration, a skateboard “skeleton” race and students got a special surprise in the form of a video made by Neilson just for them. RMS also has set up a page on its website where students can send him messages and follow him in Sochi.
Also at the assembly were Eric's parents, Brian and Fiona. They leave to join Eric on Monday and say they are overwhelmed at the level of organization exhibited by the students.
“We were impressed,” Fiona said. “It’s unbelievable that this is all for him.”
Brian says no matter how the games turn out, his parents are already proud of him.
“A medal is just icing on the cake with what he’s achieved,” he says. “He’s really done a lot for the kids and we’re really proud.”
“I know I get really nervous,” Fiona says. “He’s worked so hard and there are a lot of times that I thought maybe he would give up but he never did.”
Kelowna Councillor Colin Basran was on hand to announce on behalf of the Mayor's office, that Feb. 6 would now be Eric Neilson Day. He called Neilson not just a great athlete, but an inspiration to young people everywhere.
“Eric is a great example of what can happen when you follow your dream,” he said.
Eric Neilson’s first race is scheduled for Feb. 14. You can track his progress through this Facebook page or by following him on Twitter (@NeilsonEric).
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014