Grand Valley students learn to be resilient | Local News


ORWELL – A guest speaker reinforced the message of resilience for students in the local Grand Valley school district.

Brad Hurtig, a resident of northwest Ohio, spent Wednesday morning explaining to elementary to high school students what it was like to lose both of your arms and continue living your life at a high standard.

“You could have heard a fly fly in that gymnasium,” said Grand Valley High School principal Roberta Cozzad, who helped organize the event.

Cozzad said the school district decided to make resilience the overarching goal of the school after seeing how easily children would be frustrated in the face of a challenge.

She said the students were genuinely interested in Hurtig’s prosthetic arms, but also learned what it took for her to come back from the incident that changed her life forever.

“It took him two years to learn how to tie his shoes,” Cozzad said.

School administrators set up the program called (Getting Results in Tough Times or GRITT) with teachers and other members of the community. She said that children set goals for themselves and then learn to follow them so that they learn perseverance.

Once a month, students have a half-day off after reviewing their goals with peers, teachers and struggling with the speakers’ message, Cozzad said.

“We want to change the culture,” she said.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, teachers and school administrators felt a “dropout” mentality among students.

“We cannot achieve academic goals until we have mastered the social and emotional health of students,” she said.

“We talked about getting results in tough times,” Cozzad said of the program’s early days. She said the contribution of community leaders in addition to school staff was helpful.

Cozzad said the program is expected to run for more than a school year and hopes it will even have an impact on parents as they see changes in their children’s lives. She said program officials are already seeing successes and failures in the process and will continue to adapt as needed.


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