Follow the piper for fun and Games

Arthur Street School pupils march around the school in a mock Commonwealth Games opening ceremony yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson Arthur Street School's version of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony may have been created on a shoestring budget compared with the official ceremony in Glasgow today, but childhood imagination and enthusiasm well and truly made up for it.

More than 100 pupils were led by a bagpiper as they paraded around the school courtyard waving flags of Commonwealth nations yesterday.

And while the Commonwealth Games baton was made out of corrugated cardboard, a plastic drink bottle and some sticky tape, yesterday's preamble to the official opening ceremony had all the atmosphere of the Glasgow version.

Principal Verity Harlick said it was recycling at its best.

The event was part of the school's study of the games, which would include competing in ''child-friendly'' versions of the sports, such as athletics and gymnastics, next week.

There would also be medal ceremonies for the competitors.

She said the school held its version of the opening ceremony yesterday so when the pupils watched the actual ceremony on television today, the event would hold greater meaning and context for them.

''It's designed to teach the kids about participation, perseverance, respect for other competitors - just good sportsmanship.''

It was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the school's cultural diversity, she said.

About 43% of the school's pupils were born in countries in Asia, South America and Europe. For 11-year-old Tim Walls, participating in the school's ceremony was like nothing he had ever seen before, and it had inspired him to compete in the Commonwealth Games in the future, as a marathon runner.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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