It’s always fun to return to your old elementary school.
Especially if it’s as an Olympic champion.
Fifteen years ago, Julia Marino was a Long Lots student. This morning — now an Olympic silver medalist — she was back.
Energy was high, as nearly 600 students, staff, central office administrators and PTA members gathered in the auditorium for the first school-wide meeting since COVID struck 2 years ago.
With the Olympic theme playing and Mark Carmody — her former phys. ed. teacher, still at the school — serving as host, Julia came on stage to thunderous applause.
Video clips showed Julia on her 2nd spectacular slopestyle snowboard run. Students also saw her great display of sportsmanship, piling on the New Zealand athlete who had just edged her out for the gold medal.
“Everyone wants to win. You go to the Olympics to get gold,” Julia told the crowd.
“But it’s so important to be there for your friends. Even if they do better than you, it’s great to support them.”
Julia answered students’ questions too. They ranged from the names of former teachers, her birthday (September 11) and whether she’s married (no) to her favorite part of the Olympics (“hanging out with my friends from different countries”), what she’d do if she weren’t snowboarding (film and photography), her favorite subjects at Long Lots (PE and art), whether she’s still friends with Long Lots kids (yes!), her other sports (soccer, basketball, softball, skateboarding and more), her favorite video games (Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart), her biggest challenge (overcoming fear of hitting big jumps), and advice to new snowboarders (“get butt pads — you’ll fall a lot”).
After gifts of flowers and a Long Lots swag bag, principal Kim Ambrosio unfurled a sign honoring the Olympic champion. It will hang in the gym.
The assembly ended with Julia joining in, as students sang the school song.
Once a Lion, always a Lion.