By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Westborough – The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines perseverance as the “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” David Lowy, a longtime resident of Shrewsbury and a paraprofessional at Floral Street School, is the personification of perseverance.
In 1987, at the age of 19, he was in an accident that forever changed his life. He became a quadriplegic and had to relearn essentially everything from brushing his teeth to driving a car.
For the past several years Lowy has made a visit to Tom Salvemini’s third-grade class at the Elsie A. Hastings School to teach the students about perseverance by sharing his life story. This year, Salvemini invited Lowy to speak before the entire third grade at Hastings School at an assembly Oct. 27.
Salvemini has known Lowy for years.
“He always connects with the kids and touches them in a way that I can’t,” he said. “I also think that when they see what David has done and accomplished in his life, they really understand that they can achieve what they want if they are willing to persevere and keep trying.”
Lowy spoke to the students about his life and he asked them what perseverance meant to them. He explained that he was living in Los Angeles at the time of his accident and he spent six months rehabilitating.
“I had to relearn how to do everything. I had to relearn how to dress, I had to relearn how to brush my teeth, comb my hair,” he told them. “I have had to adapt my life, to change things to fit me to make things easier for me…our world isn’t flat. It has stairs and a lot of rough roads…I have tried to work through my disability and go on and try and go forward and persevere.”
Lowy went back to college, received a degree in education and eventually married and became a father. He learned to drive a car and has traveled all over the world.
State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) was invited to present Lowy with a citation from the commonwealth’s House of Representatives, honoring his mentorship. She also presented another citation on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
Kane remarked, “Mr. Lowy is a friend and a role model and a constant source of inspiration to all who know him. I have had the honor of knowing him through my years on the Floral Street School PTO and working together to help pass the new Sherwood Middle School building and the override. Mr. Lowy has accomplished so much in his life with his tremendous courage and perseverance and shown us all, from young students like you to older adults like me, that we can overcome adversity and live purposeful and joy-filled lives.”
“I’m overwhelmed and awestruck,” Lowy said after the presentations. “I thought I was just coming to talk to four classes about my disability and it was a lot more than that.”