Alexa Halko departed her first Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Saturday after a successful debut that included two silver medals and a bronze.
The hardware solidified the status of Halko, 16, as a rising star in American adaptive sports. She was the youngest member of the U.S. track and field delegation.
On Monday, her first day of school, she was just another student at Jamestown High.
Except for the fanfare.
“Everyone was super-supportive,” Halko said. “I’ve been getting high-fives and congratulations from everyone in the hall, from teachers and stuff, so that’s pretty awesome.”
The congratulations will continue Friday morning in the school auditorium in a ceremony to honor Halko’s achievements.
Halko concluded competition Friday evening with a silver medal in the T34 classification 800-meter wheelchair race after an earlier silver in the 400 and bronze in the 100.
One of the enduring memories for Halko was the festive Opening Ceremony in the legendary Maracana Stadium, which was packed for the event with production value similar to the Olympics version that preceded it a month prior.
“It was pretty surreal watching your daughter go out and having a packed stadium cheering,” said Alexa’s mother, Elesha Halko. “It was something else. It was mind-boggling.”
Find more on the Halkos’ Rio adventure in Saturday’s Gazette.