Pupils at Beechwood Park School have been involved in early celebrations of this summer’s Olympics. Each child was assigned to one of 12 teams from different countries: Greece, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, USA and GB/NI.
Pupils researched the countries they “represented”; their geography, their Olympic hopefuls, food, traditions and music, and this produced some eye-catching displays in school.
The Olympic-themed week opened with a memorable opening ceremony complete with a parade by all the competing countries, torch bearers, a reading of the Olympic oath and an address by headmaster, Patrick Atkinson.
The school’s usual sporting events and activities took on the Olympic theme too with Olympic swimming galas, aquathlons and athletics competitions. There was a dance competition, an Olympic quiz, and form assembly taken by "country leaders", and there were sports-related evening activities for the boarders.
The week culminated with a Closing Ceremony featuring a parade of athletes, speeches, medal ceremony, dancing and a picnic lunch for the whole school.
There were numerous medal winners in the different events; the overall winning country was France. The children in the team from Russia picked up the Olympic Spirit Award.
Patrick Atkinson, expressed his gratitude to all the staff who organised the week, and pointed out in his speech how Olympic values can be brought into everyday life, not just sport.
He challenged the children to improve their personal bests, not only in sporting endeavours, but also in all areas of daily life. Referring to Team GB’s motto "Better Never Stops" he interpreted this for his pupils as meaning that they can always strive to improve.
One long-serving member of Beechwood Park’s staff declared: “This has been the most moving and memorable event ever staged at Beechwood Park and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which the children will never forget.”