Up to 30,000 school children are being given the opportunity to meet their athletic heroes and win tickets to the London 2012 Olympics through a new education initiative
The Inspire Aspire project, run by Get Set – the official London 2012 education programme – is encouraging students to choose an athlete they admire and research the character traits and values that enable them to achieve their goals. They will then use this information to reflect on their own characters and aspirations and create a poster representing their thoughts.
The exercise is based around the values set out by the founder of the modern Olympic games, Pierre de Coubertin. These are the Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship, and the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.
Many teachers are using the exercise as a starting point for doing something different in their lessons. “We ran a science day recently for year 8 students where they took part in challenges related to the upcoming Olympics,” says Kelly Cossins, a teacher at Amersham School in Buckinghamshire, whose students worked on tasks such as designing a handball arena or a glove to be used in sailing. “The students found this particularly inspirational and are aspiring to become involved more in maths, science and engineering,” she adds.
Brogan Bowie, a pupil at Inverurie Academy in Aberdeenshire, says he has got a lot out of the initiative: “I think I’ve learned what kind of person I want to be as I go through my life. It’s encouraged me to live my life with qualities that I think are important.”
The best posters created during the programme will be judged by a team of professionals from the fields of sport, politics and business. As well as the main prizes of tickets to the Olympic games and meeting major sports stars, pupils can also earn medals and certificates that will be presented at regional award ceremonies.
Another programme, Inspire Aspire +, is linking students with useful organisations, projects and resources to help them reach the goals they set in the poster project.
British rower and three-time silver medallist Katherine Grainger, who has visited many of the schools on the programme, says: “It is an utter privilege to be involved with this genuinely life-changing project. Seeing young people be inspired by the Olympic games is a wonderful thing.”