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Golden Words - Oakdale Students Hear From 1992 Olympic Medalist
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Jennie Siemsen of Oakdale Highs soars toward the next cone during races at the VOL Olympics. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER

A collection of leadership students from all seven Valley Oak League high schools gathered in the Mustang gymnasium on March 21 to listen to Olympic gold medalist Darnell Hall, who celebrated his 10-year anniversary of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona by speaking with local students.

Onlookers received a chance to speak with Hall, don his gold medal and hear inspirational words of encouragement from a Detroit Police Activities League officer who is on the Amateur Athletic Union National Athletics Executive Committee. Hall earned gold in Barcelona on the 1600 meter relay team.

Oakdale High activities director, cross country coach and track coach Guy Fowler arranged for Hall to speak with VOL students before the leadership classes took part in the VOL Olympics later in the afternoon.

The speaking engagement gave Hall a chance to speak to his first high school crowd since he took Olympic gold.

“If I have an opportunity to change anybody’s life or influence them in a positive way I am going to do it,” Hall said. “My message is to be passionate about what you do and put your best foot forward.

“It’s okay to dream.”

After Hall finished speaking he posed for photos and watched Oakdale students host a barrage of VOL Olympic events that included table tennis, field hockey, plunger skateboarding and callisthenic racing.