Although only two weeks into the new school year, Turlock High School has already lined up high-profile motivational speaker and former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch to speak to students on Nov. 7.
Even though THS administration does not know exactly what Lynch will discuss as of yet, Naval Science instructor and retired Lt. Commander of the U.S. Navy Carlos Montanez hopes that she will relate to the students on a personal level and teach them how to overcome any challenge.
“I hope that she talks about how a year after high school she was already in the heart of a war, especially as a prisoner of war,” said Montanez. “Even though that wasn’t a good situation, I’m hoping that she will show the students how her character traits allowed her to overcome adversity.”
Lynch, former Army soldier, was captured by Iraqi soldiers and held captive in 2003 after the U.S. Army supply convoy she was in was attacked in the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah. As a result of the incident, Lynch suffered spinal fractures, nerve damage, and a shattered right arm, right foot, and left leg.
She was rescued from an Iraqi hospital over a week later by United States troops, a mission later dubbed the first successful rescue of an American POW since World War II.
Since then, Lynch has left the Army and published her best-selling biography titled “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story,” along with former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg. She is now an elementary school teacher with a master’s in education.
Lynch has offered at no charge to speak to the students at THS.
“I hope her speech will compel the students to look at their own situations and challenges, whether it’s about graduation or college, and focus on the same character traits that Jessica had in order to succeed,” said Montanez.
Later that day, Turlock Gospel Mission will also be hosting “An Evening with Jessica Lynch” at The War Memorial, where Lynch will share her life story with guests in honor of Veteran’s Day.
Guests are encouraged to sponsor the event prior to the Nov. 7 date. For more information on the event or the different sponsorship levels available, call Tim Guerino at 409-4642.