Home LearningDid You Know? Renowned disability inclusion consultant and former paralympic swimmer, Jessica Smith, inspired students at The Aquila School

Renowned disability inclusion consultant and former paralympic swimmer, Jessica Smith, inspired students at The Aquila School

by Bryony

The Aquila School was honoured to host Jessica Smith, a leading global disability inclusion consultant, former Australian Paralympic Swimmer, public and motivational speaker, and children’s author.

During her visit to The Aquila School, Jessica Smith engaged with students in a series of inspirational sessions where she presented to students from classes spanning from year three to year six. 

As part of her mission to promote kindness, building resilience, self-esteem, healthy self-confidence, emotional and social intelligence, and social and interpersonal skills in children, Jessica shared details of her life. For the youngest pupils she read from her book, “Jessica Goes to School”, which was based on her own experience of her first day of school.


Born missing her left arm and having endured a traumatic accident as a toddler, which resulted in burns to 15% of her body, Jessica defied the odds to represent her country in the sport of swimming for seven years


Wayne Howsen, principal at The Aquila School, expressed his happiness for the visit and said: “Jessica’s visit aligns with The Aquila School’s mission of encouraging its pupils to embrace diversity and inclusion, and also provided them with an opportunity to learn from an accomplished Paralympian, author and overall inspiring person. At the moment as a school, we are focused on nurturing kindness and positivity, so her visit fits this theme quite nicely.

Her visit also fits under our ISP Educates ME banner, an initiative that provides the ISP community of families, students, and staff with the opportunity to take part in sessions with inspirational speakers, free webinars, and training all aimed at providing further learning opportunities.”

Jessica is an athlete and a passionate advocate for diversity and accessibility through her work as a public speaker, writer, lecturer, and influential social media presence. She has been instrumental in facilitating honest conversations about the importance of diversity and accessibility, as well as providing practical solutions to improve inclusivity within society.

Born missing her left arm and having endured a traumatic accident as a toddler, which resulted in burns to 15% of her body, Jessica defied the odds to represent her country in the sport of swimming for seven years. Her incredible journey culminated in her selection onto the Australian Paralympic team in 2004. Through her dedication to sport, Jessica found ambition and focus, which helped her confront societal obstacles related to body image and disability acceptance.


”Jessica’s visit aligns with The Aquila School’s mission of encouraging its pupils to embrace diversity and inclusion”


Jessica Smith shared her thoughts on her visit to the school and said: “I had the pleasure of visiting The Aquila School to share my personal story and the importance of diversity and inclusion. It was evident that students across all year groups were familiar with the themes of kindness and respect, and it was wonderful to engage with such a dynamic and conscientious group of student and young leaders. I look forward to visiting the school again soon.

The Aquila School provides pupils with opportunities to learn and be motivated by inspiring people who have progressed in their chosen fields, with the aim of ensuring pupils are able to understand and explore future pathways that suit their individual talents. 

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