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Driving Inspiration schools children blog about their experience of the celebration day at Mandeville School on 14 July 2011 / 16 July 2011

Driving Inspiration is an accentuate project that has been sending disabled artists and sports personalities into 14 schools across the South East over the last year. On 14th July a celebration day was held at Mandeville school showcasing work from all the schools. On the day children from the schools that took part wrote blog entries looking back at the work they had done as well as reflecting on the day itself.

Students from Cressex Community School
Names: Aroosa Ali, Ella & Sarish

Dance - We have been working with Sign Dance Collective for the past few months. We’ve experienced different types of dance moves which involve sign language. We’ve enjoyed ourselves & had an amazing experience with the staff. We really liked the band because they gave us more confidence with their music. The members off staff  and artists were Laura, David, Jacob, Francesca and Isolte. They helped us with our ideas & helped us improve our dance. We really enjoyed their inspirations & it gave us more ideas on how we can be inspired by music.

The band was amazing they played good music that went really well with our dances. They were really kind & helped us improve our work. Overall I think we’ve had a wonderful experience which we will never forget & we are very thankful to all members of staff who have helped us during our experience with Sign Dance Collective.

Art: We think the art was amazing. The work was so beautiful. Christine Wilkinson was a great help & she inspired us as artists. We are very thankful for all her help & her art work has inspired students to progress in the world of art. Her work was outstanding. She showed us art work that we hadn’t seen before & she was an amazing help. Her shirt designs were very unique & everybody liked them.

The best part of the whole experience was being a part of Sign Dance Collective & bringing all our work together as one team. We’ve had so much fun & cannot wait until our performance this evening. Thank You very much for everything we really appreciate it. 

Students from Mandeville School
Hello we are Irena Rowlinson and Danielle Webb, we are from the Mandeville upper school and we are the music ambassador for driving inspiration. As we write this we are wearing green t-shirts with amazing designs from some of the local primary schools.  Schools from all over the south of England have come to our school to participate in the events all about the Paralympics. Some activities include sitting volleyball, rowing machines, wheelchair basketball, sign language dance and police and fire brigade.

When we first arrived at 9am, all in all it seemed very hectic. Teachers were running around trying to organise, based on our first impression we never thought the day would be so successful! Our job was to assist staff in organisation and to help people (aka, schools/ helpers) to find their way. Whilst doing this we were able to observe some of the activities taking place. The children really enjoyed talking and taking part in something with Paralympians.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learnt from this day it’s that even though people have disabilities you should keep an open mind because they are all interesting people who to have different experiences to share!!

My name is Rikki. Today I did wheel chair basketball for the first time. It was a lot harder than I thought as you could not use your legs for a lot of the work which was a new experience for me. I also found it a fun and enjoyable experience to find out how some people live.

What I have had to do today is look after and do some drill sitting down with the kids that were not in the wheelchair at that moment, so I decided to get them passing while sitting down on chairs then I got them to try and shoot. Most of the kids I talked to found it harder than they thought it would be and thought it was different not being able to use their legs. They all had a great time trying something new and I know they would all like too come and do them again.

If I got the chance to learn to play professional wheelchair basketball I would not pass the opportunity as it is a great experience and would recommend anyone to give it a try. But it also made me think of how other people have less choice in the way they live and don’t like to share how they are as some people do not respect them. So I believe if they can show how they live; that they can still do the same stuff as able bodied people that people will respect them more and treat them normally. ☺  

We’re Katie.N. Rothery and Courtney Green. We were chosen as music ambassadors for the day. It’s been a bit hectic but everything seems to be going well, we have shown many important people and schools from around the country around the school today. There are a variety of different schools here and they all seem to be having fun and getting involved in the activities, as are we. We found the wheelchair basketball really fun but it showed us how we take for granted our abled bodies. Also, we thought that the people here which were signing/interpreting for the day are incredible and are gifted as they have had to learn a whole new language, which many people wouldn’t take the time to learn.

One thing or rather one song which has been in our heads all day is a piece we sing in our choir at Mandeville called ‘Can you hear me?’ By Bob Chilcott .This particular song describes the feelings of deaf and visually impaired people it says “my worlds a quiet one but it’s enough for me, I hear you through your hands the movement sets me free”. It really made us realise that communication comes in many different forms. We have loved today and we even got a free, wonderful t-shirt! We are really proud to have been a part of this and will remember it.

Hello my name is Ethan and today I have been helping kids from a variety of schools do wheelchair basketball. As the first set of kids entered the room I could see the excitement exploding from each and every one of them. First we started with a practise game of simple passing which they took very well and seemed to increase their confidence.  After around five minutes they were ready for more of a challenge, we lined them up opposite the basketball hoop we got them to shoot in different directions and that was pretty much it. It was good. I leanrt that it’s hard to live to with a disability, but it brings strength as well.

Hello, my name is Amber Cox I am a year 10 student, I have enjoyed the experience today watching and assisting other schools from all over the south east working as a team.  A smile was constantly spread across my face from watching the schools taking part in a variety of activities that were going on throughout the day; pupils were trying new things that they have never done before and enjoying the experience. I was on hand to help anyone that needed it, offering refreshments, touring them around the school premises, making friends and communicating with pupils and staff. A majority of primary schools and secondary schools featured in a performance they had choreographed themselves, everyone enjoyed watching these… the sports hall was full!

The school was bursting with a positive atmosphere wherever you went; the pupils and staff enjoyed themselves, with thanks to the weather staying nice and sunny for us throughout the entire day as well. Many pupils enjoyed meeting Paralympic stars and looked up to them as role models. My overall experience of the day was exciting, positive, a little challenging and slightly nerve racking at times but I would be more than happy to help if Mandeville host another one of these days.
Thanks ☺

Students from Beaconsfield School
We are Kieran, James, Sam,and  James. We have been working with Caroline Cardus and Rachel Gadsden during the driving inspiration project. We have been making banners about the Paralympics. We have used many different materials such as gold leaf and paint. We are hoping that these banners are going to be used around the school.

This project has helped us understand more about the Paralympics. We didn’t always realise the importance of the Paralympics but this project has helped us understand that the Paralympics is just as big an experience as the Olympics. We all found the process very enjoyable because we all learnt something from it such as art. We are all very glad we were chosen to do this project. Dont dream your your dreams.

We are Ryan, Nathan and Emily and we have been involved in the Driving Inspiration program. We have been working with Rachel and Caroline creating large scale art work and smaller banner pieces. We have also used the computers to edit the pieces and add different effects to them.

It has been a very enjoyable experience to be involved with different types of art work and people. We have created the pieces by lying on large sheets of paper and drawing the outline of ourselves in different Paralympic and Olympic sports positions. We have painted them with different colours and added gold leaf to make the art work eye catching and unique. We have been constructing these pieces since November 2010.

Students from Cottesloe School
We’re Billie, Jess and Tayla. We had the opportunity to work with a deaf choreographer Mark Smith for Driving Inspiration. He helped to create a dance to show some of the sports from Paralympics and Olympics. Our music came from Mandeville school and we also work with students from Overstone primary school.

One of the local schools from our area listened to the music Mandeville has created and they made art work showing their thoughts. We used these drawings to inspire our movements in the dance. We also included a few of the drawings on our t-shirts for the performance. Without the artwork or music we wouldn’t of had this much inspiration to create the choreography in the dance.

When we first met Mark we were amazed at his talent, the way he had so much passion for dance. He was a great influence on us and we enjoyed working with him. We hope that other schools have the opportunity to work with people like mark.

Students from Pent Valley School
My name is Dan. I’ve been working with Gary Thomas doing the film-making since last term. It’s been really fun. I’ve been learning some new things on the camera - like charging up the camera using the computer.

Today I’ve been doing some handball, rowing and watching the performances. I’ve spent this afternoon interviewing people like Naomi Riches, Paralympic rower, Isolte Avila from Signdance and some of the teachers who’ve been doing Driving Inspiration. It’s been a really good experience
I like interviewing people. I like holding cameras.

Rye College

Hi I am Joanne and my school is Rye College I am in year 8. I enjoyed the netball and the volley ball. The art work was really good and so were the dance performances. It was a really good day out  and I would like to do it again. Most of the primary school performed stuff which they had made up themselves.