Paralympics: Robinson's visit reward for Kaikorai School

Paralympian athlete Holly Robinson (centre) with pupils at the Kaikorai Primary School yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Paralympian athlete Holly Robinson (centre) with pupils at the Kaikorai Primary School yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Holly Robinson held the pupils at the Kaikorai Primary School spellbound yesterday as she told them about the London Paralympics.

Robinson (17), who finished seventh in the javelin, told the pupils what it was like competing in the stadium in front of 80,000 people.

Robinson was a special guest at the school that had integrated its curriculum around the 2012 Paralympics in London.

The class of years 1 to 4 pupils was one of the four classrooms across New Zealand to win the Paralympic Supporters creative class photo competition.

They won the years 1 to 4 with the Opawa School, Christchurch.

The winner of years 5 and 6 was Fairhaven School, Te Puke and years 7 and 8 was won by Cambridge Middle School.

In her talk to the pupils Robinson highlighted the need to sacrifice some normal teenage activities to get to the Paralympics.

''I had to give up hanging out with friends so much and going to the movies,'' she said.

''I would have loved to keep lying in bed but I had to get up at 6am to go to the gym."

A pupil in the winning class, Maia Hunter (9), caught the message.

''Holly gave a very inspiring talk,'' she said.

''She has shown what you can do if you make the effort."

Robinson, a pupil at Taieri College, left her family back in her home town of Hokitika to live in Dunedin and train with coach Raylene Bates.

''It is a very big thrill,'' Sue Graham, the teacher of the years 1 to 4 class, said.

''When we joined up with the Paralympics Supporters group it hadn't occurred to us that there might be a prize."

It is the first time that the Kaikorai school has won a nationwide competition.

The special prize was visit to the school by Robinson, who presented posters of the New Zealand Paralympics athletes, New Zealand pins that were swapped with athletes of other countries at London and a miniature of the Games mascot, Mandeville.

The Paralympics project was integrated into the curriculum in physical education, health, social studies and writing.

''We did a lot of our games - volleyball, bowls - sitting down like paralympian athletes.

"We held our own Minties Olympics,'' teacher Graham said.

''It gave us an appreciation of the efforts that the paralympics athletes put into their sport."

It was a brilliant way of building the curriculum around a real life event.

''We used the modern technology to bring worlds that are outside into our classroom. It had a lot of appeal to our children."