Whincup and Lowndes inspirational says Mt Wellington Principal
IVECO brings Triple Eight Racing team-mates to talk to Auckland Primary School kids
Supercar aces Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup gave up their Thursday morning to inspire Auckland school students to achieve.
The Sylvia Park Primary School assembly with a difference came about because trucking company IVECO donated its corporate opportunity to the school, which is fundraising to build a student-designed exercise circuit.
The Triple Eight Racing team-mates have a competitive pedigree guaranteed to engage growing kids. Whincup has won the V8 Supercar championship six times and the Bathurst 100 four times, while Lowndes has three V8 titles and six Bathurst wins to his credit.
IVECO General Manager Ian Walker said the kids really lit up when the drivers hit the stage, and he was especially moved when the 500 pupils, aged between five and 13, did a rousing haka to wish Craig and Jamie luck for their races at the weekend.
“The guys have such good attitudes, they seemed to be excited to be there, and signed loads of autographs, which they didn’t have to do,” Mr Walker said.
School Principal Barbara Ala'alatoa said “That exposure was a whole other world for our kids, and the racers talked about how they’ve been able to be champions in a language our kids could absolutely understand.”
She added that, “Craig loved cricket and football, but also karting when he was young, and realized that was where his passion was. And kids get that, they are starting to develop passion, and it was a lovely connection for our kids to make. The lads are fantastic communicators.”
The pupils spent term one discussing ‘how we can make this place a healthy space’ and learning what it means to train and develop a healthy eating and exercise programme, Ms Ala'alatoa said. “They learned the science and we ran a sponsored fun run, and the kids raised just over $20,000.”
This year they looked at forces in motion as part of phsyics lessons, and used what they’d learned to design a fitness course. “Now they just need the money, but the aim is to create and install it by the end of the year.”
IVECO helped with a $1000 donation, but Lowndes and Whincup showed the kids how important it is to look after yourself, underlining what the course is all about.
Starting with safety – and illustrating the safety of the fireproof race gear they wear by having young Ofa Tonga don the fireproof undies, socks, gloves, shoes, suit and balaclava – they went on to tell the kids how they can drive at a very risky 300kph through practice and rigorous training.
They also reinforced how vital it is to be fit when driving at this level, how important it is to eat properly, “And they kept pulling it back to the kids,” Mr Walker said.
The school still has $10,000 to raise, and is putting the call out for donations for the exercise circuit, which will be open to the public at evenings and weekends.
Anyone wanting to help can call the principal, Barbara Ala'alatoa, on 527 6526.
For further information, contact:
General Manager, IVECO Trucks New Zealand
09 277 2070
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