From Left to Right: Shelton Ervin, Jennifer Harper, Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell and Thomas Lang.
Summer Creek High School seniors got a special pep talk when they were visited by Olympic track and field legend, Carl Lewis.
Lewis was joined by Leroy Burrell, Track and Field Head Coach at the University of Houston, during his visit. Both Lewis and Burrell shared memories of running track at the University of Houston, tips on what it takes to be a successful athlete and most importantly a successful student.
Lewis competed in four Olympic Games with Team USA, winning a total of 10 medals, nine of them being gold. He also won eight gold medals at the World Outdoor Championship which is more than any other athlete in the world. Burrell is an American track and field athlete who set several world records and who won a gold medal with the 1992 4 x 100 m Olympic team. He is now a premier collegiate coach.
Burrell discussed the importance of having goals and how to achieve them. He gave the students 3 P’s to motivate them through any challenges. Pain. Pressure. Perspective.
“Give the best effort where it matters the most,” Burrell said. “To press forward and reach your goals you have to give it your all in the midst of changes, classwork, and life.
Lewis talked to the seniors about the importance of perspective during their last year of high school. He challenged the students to think outside of themselves, utilize their time wisely, and to decide what the next phase of their lives will entail.
“Change your perspective on your current challenges,” Lewis said. “Sharing your campus this year is allowing your neighbors to get through a difficult time. These challenges will help you grow and become stronger students.”
Both Lewis and Burrell encouraged the students to write their own stories, be understanding, and to continue to challenge themselves to be the best they can be.
Summer Creek High track and field coaches, Shelton Ervin, Jennifer Harper and Thomas Lang all trained under Burrell in college at the University of Houston. Burrell and Lewis still serve as mentors to the three coaches. Ervin believes the 3P’s could be critical for the Summer Creek High seniors this year.
“Pain is temporary, Pressure makes diamond, and Perspective is sometimes the only thing we have control of,” Ervin said. “Understanding how to use perspective as a coping mechanism is critical to our success.”
Coach Burrell and Lewis’ inspirational message was just a small dose of what Harper experienced in college. Harper explained it was an inspiration to have Olympians as both coaches and mentors. The motivation she received while running under their direction is now being passed down to her track and field students at Summer Creek.
“It is my calling to cultivate and empower every student that I meet,” Harper said. “I have an awesome opportunity to be an advocate for students that are aspiring to be Division I athletes in track and field and I love it.”

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