Florence holds pep rally for Hometown Hero Englund

Sarah Giddings

Students and community gathered Feb. 7 to in support of Nita Englund, Florence High School’s 2010 Valedictorian who is part of Team USA at this year’s Winter Olympics. Englund competed on Monday Feb. 12 in Pyeongchang, finishing 31st in the women’s competition.

Englund’s mother Julia, father John and other family members joined the pep rally to cheer Nita on and recognize her for her exceptional accomplishments. Fab Lab students created and presented a banner during the celebration.

“She defines commitment,” said friend and former coach, Karen Harrison in the keynote speech. “Nita is proof that dreams can come true with commitment.” Harrison also noted that Englund was instrumental in bringing women’s ski jumping to the Olympics. Prior to 2014, only men were able to compete in ski jumping in the Olympics.

In a letter to Harrison and the community, Englund said that she wasn’t very good at ski jumping when she first started, but she was so passionate and loved the feeling of flying so much that she was determined to improve and excel. “Talent doesn’t matter if you want to do something and you work for it,” said Englund. She travels around the world and currently lives and trains in Slovenia. “My heart is always in Florence,” she wrote.