Paralympic activities for Ripon’s students

The Orbit and the Olympic stadium (S)
The Orbit and the Olympic stadium (S)

Students from a Ripon secondary school have been chosen to spend the Paralympic Games running activites for spectators at the London park.

A group of eight pupils from Ripon Grammar School will spend the Games in the “Great British Garden” area of the Olympic Park, where they will run fun activities for spectators to take part in,

Rebekah Vanzo, student at Ripon Grammar School said:

“I am so excited to have been chosen as one of the eight leaders from Ripon Grammar School to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We are all looking forward to this event, facing the challenge of delivering our games and making the project a success as we interact with all the visitors and spectators and possibly even the athletes themselves.”

The “Great British Garden” area features areas with wildflowers and grasses, as well as a frog pond, swing, willow tunnel and running-track-inspired spiral paths.

It is also home to a ‘De Coubertin oak’, grown from an acorn collected from the tree Baron Pierre De Coubertin was planted in 1894 to thank the citizens of Much Wenlock in Shropshire for inspiring the founding of the modern Olympic Games.

The RGS pupils will run activities like face-painting, target games, message boards and sport sessions in the garden.

The school was selected through the “Get Set Network”, the London 2012 education programme, because the pupils showed their commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic values and incorporating them into their school lives and curriculum.

Helen Mackenzie, School Sports Co-ordinator at RGS, and the school’s Head of IT Bob Walker, both said they were very proud of their students.

“We are delighted that our school has been successful in its bid to take part in this leadership display. It is testament to the superb work our Sports Leaders carry out in and around the city of Ripon.

“We have invented and designed some games, all with a Paralympic theme and our students will deliver them over a period of three days at the end of the summer.

“It is an incredible honour to have been selected from all the schools in Britain and we are all really thrilled to be taking part and representing Ripon Grammar School in this exciting challenge.”

Seb Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, has praised the commitment of students in the Get Set scheme.

“The students running the activities in the Great British Garden in the Olympic Park will not only gain new leaderships skills but will also provide spectators with a fantastic addition to their London 2012 Games experience,” he said.

As well as the eight Ripon Grammar School students who travel to London for the games, Ripon woman Faye Stephens will spend the two weeks of the Paralympics as a volunteer Games Maker in the park’s Aquatic.

They will be following in the footsteps of pub landlady Teresa Baier, who has won a place as a Games Maker in the Aquatic Centre for the Olympic Games.

And three athletes from the Ripon area are to travel to London as part of Team GB.

Diver Jack Laugher, also an RGS student, water polo player Francesa Clayton from Masham, and Northallerton eventer Nicola Wilson are all set to compete .