Five schools in Port-of-Spain took part in a Paralympic School Day for physically and mentally challenged students yesterday at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. The event, organised and executed by students of the East Mucurapo Secondary School, was initiated under a training programme by the British Council's International Inspiration Young Sports Leaders Programme.
Project manager of International Inspiration, Allyson McKell-Pantin, said the event was important because it brought into focus one of the main aspects of sport.
She noted even though other schools took part in the programme, East Mucurapo was the only school to try something different. East Mucurapo engaged the participation of physically challenged students in their sporting programme. McKell-Pantin said: "It is quite commendable for the young leaders to take on a project like this and to have it executed in such a short period of time. "What it takes some companies weeks to accomplish, they did in a few days."
The students, who had only four days prior to the event to train, plan and organise, were in high spirits and took their responsibility to the project seriously as they facilitated the participation of the physically challenged students in activities specifically designed for them. Principal of East Mucurapo, Derrick Phillip, said the mandate of the British Council was that all children be involved in sport and that East Mucurapo sought to demonstrate the need to be all inclusive. He expressed pride in his students, noting that the project built confidence. He saw an increase in their level of maturity.
He said the event allowed the physically challenged students to feel equal as they participated with their able-bodied peers. Vice principal of Servol's Special School, Elizabeth Courtney, whose students participated in the activities expressed her admiration for the project, saying for children to have organised the event wholly was an amazing thing. Sportsman of the Year, Roger Daniel, who was specially invited by the students, said he was amazed by the interaction of students of East Mucurapo's physically challenged pupils. The East Mucurapo students facilitated the participation in sports which included wheelchair basketball, blind relay and wheelchair dancing.