GOOD NEWS It’s brilliant that a fourth-form class of 33 students at Wolmer’s Girls’ School could sit CXC Mathematics and hammer it to the tune of 33 distinctions. This accomplishment speaks volumes about the aptitude and attitude of the girls, the work of their teacher and the learning environment provided at the school. A closer look reveals good news for sport. Five of those 33 bright sparks represent Wolmer’s in sport. This quintet includes national Under-17 goalkeeper Oneilia Yearde, three track and field hopefuls and the other is part of the traditionally strong Wolmer’s volleyball group. Their success flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that asserts that academics and sport don’t mix. We’ve all heard the stories about sportsmen who needed help to complete their travel documents, capable only of a barely legible scribble for a signature. I haven’t heard those tales in years. The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the governing body for high school sport and the teachers in our schools deserve a lot of credit. Years ago, ISSA instituted a minimum academic performance eligibility rule. This statute sets out to ensure that student-athletes have to make an effort in the classroom as well as on the field of play. Recently, I witnessed a teacher handing out assignments to members of a Manning Cup team after a match. She issued a word of encouragement to each recipient and reminded all of the due date for completion. That type of care and diligence for our student-sports is very valuable. The teacher of the Wolmer’s 33 is Lance McFarlane, a Boys and Girls’ Championships medal-winning sprint hurdler and 400-metre runner for Kingston College (KC) in 1999 and 2000. Teacher McFarlane represents another piece of good news. Though his days as an active athlete are long gone, he is excelling in the classroom. With his help, those 33 young ladies have put CXC mathematics behind them. Now they can tackle fifth form with a lighter course load and with the confidence that they can do well at whatever they choose. He also is a symbol of a productive life for retired sportsmen and women. Retirement comes sooner, for some like McFarlane, or later for luminaries like the incomparable Usain Bolt, but it comes nevertheless. If they pursue their new lives with the energy they showed as athletes, they can be successful. Some may walk away as Bolt plans to do next year as global brands, with the world at their feet. Others may test the waters in business before they retire like super sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Whatever the course of action, all must carefully map the way forward for the rest of their lives. For now, let’s all hail Yearde and her fellow student-athletes in that stellar group of 33 at Wolmer’s Girl’s. Along with their teacher, they represent bright hope for the future. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Donegal teacher Elaine McConnell has been inspired by her late uncle to take on a mighty adventure this week with her beloved pooch Lucy.Elaine will be pushing herself to the limit as she takes part in a solo 145km three-day ‘Home to Home’ fundraising walk from Belfast to St Johnston in Donegal.The challenge, which begins this Friday, aims to raise awareness and much-needed funds for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland. Elaine works as a behaviour support teacher in Longstone Special School in Dundonald, Belfast. She will be leaving her home in East Belfast at 7.00am on Friday, 5th July and plans to arrive in her family home for a special barbecue with family and friends in St Johnston, Co Donegal on Sunday evening, 7th July. Her canine companion Lucy will be keeping her company during the cross-border trip.Elaine McConnell and her dog LucyDementia is very close to Elaine’s heart and she was inspired to organise this solo adventure by her uncle, Bill McVitty, who lived with dementia for 10 years. Bill was always trying to ‘go home’ which is where the idea of ‘Home to Home’ came from. Bill sadly passed away in May after being cared for at home by his wife, Doreen, for many years.Elaine now wants to complete the challenging walk in Bill’s memory. Elaine will be joined by friends and family members at various points along the way and she is encouraging others to follow her progress on social media or make a donation online (click here to donate) All the money raised will be split evenly between The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland.Elaine said: “Dementia is a cause close to the heart of my family and many others. I have witnessed how devastating and heart-breaking this condition can be on a family. My uncle Bill had dementia and we were all impacted by his journey with the condition so I am going to do this for him, his family and everyone else out there who is affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.“I am really looking forward to raising awareness and funds for these great charities north and south of the border to show people who are caring for people with dementia in particular that there is support out there and to raise the importance of people talking and seeking help and advice. I also want to highlight the issue of caring for the carer who do so much work and are heroes in our own communities.”Elaine McConnell and her dog LucyElaine added: “The generosity and support that I have received so far from family, friends, colleagues and members of the public has been fantastic. Little things like people offering their support, leaving messages, people making donations both large and small and even the offering of services and company during the walk has been absolutely phenomenal. I have been taken aback by the reaction to this walk and the public’s support.”The teacher has been taken aback by the support that she has received so far – with one hotel, the O’Neill Arms Country House Hotel in Toomebridge in Antrim, offering a free stay for her first night on the road. Graham/Farrans Construction Joint Venture has gone out of their way to allow Elaine access to the site of their almost completed 7.3km of new A6 dual carriageway that will allow Elaine to walk safely, traffic free from Randalstown to the Toomebridge bypass and Charles Hurst, Belfast have generously donated a minibus for three days to act as a support vehicle that can transport any volunteer walkers back to their cars if they have joined Elaine for a stretch.The Alzheimer Society of Ireland provides numerous services to help the 2,000 people with dementia and their families in Donegal including Day Care, Social Clubs, Alzheimer Cafes and Home Care and also has an active Donegal Branch Office. Full details on www.alzheimer.ieMembers of the public can make online donation to Elaine HERE.Donegal teacher’s 145km walk home inspired by late uncle was last modified: July 1st, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Alzheimer’s Societyelaine mcconnellhome to homeThe Alzheimer Society of Ireland