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Rio Paralympics T47 long jump gold medallist Anna Grimaldi (19) was speaking about her visit yesterday to St Mary’s School, in Dunedin.
She and fellow Rio Paralympics T42-44 javelin bonze medallist Rory McSweeney (31) joined some members of the Otago Volts cricket team at the school for breakfast, and to play some sport with the pupils and share some of their sporting experience.
Grimaldi pointed out she did not attend just for the breakfast — she also wanted to help inspire a younger generation. Board of trustees member Caroline Walker said the event was to celebrate the official launch of the school’s KickStart Breakfast Club and Free After School Club.
"St Mary’s is one of Dunedin’s smallest schools and, although there is no risk of closure, the school community recognised that something had to be done to give our school a point of difference in order to attract more students.
"St Mary’s didn’t previously have before- and after-school care, which was an issue for working parents. But we felt that just introducing that wasn’t something that would set our school apart from others.
"It was then that staff and parents decided to go one step further, and they put up their hands to offer their time free of charge in order to provide the service for free."
Principal Richard Duffy said there had been a big increase in both inquiries and enrolments at the school as a result of the initiative.
"The clubs have worked really well for the school. They’ve brought a number of new enrolments in for next year."