With the sun shining and tennis on the agenda, it called for smiles all around for Jade Windley as she made her way to Rishworth School in Yorkshire alongside the Squadkit and Mintridge teams on Friday 29th March 2019.
The reason for Jade’s visit was to present the up and coming talented trampolinist, Willow Clarke – May, a student at Rishworth, with one of this year’s prestigious Squadkit Scholarships from our fantastic partners. The Squadkit Scholarship Programme offers a financial boost to four aspiring athletes in their chosen field. Jade presented the award to Willow in the school assembly where she also expressed her top tips for life as an elite athlete that took her to the greatest stage in her sport; Wimbledon: “Put in the graft when no one else is watching!”. This was a key focus as well enjoying the journey. Jade encouraged Willow and other Rishworth students to follow this philosophy before welcoming the future star onto the stage to receive her award. Wonderful photos were taken with Jade that Willow will be able to treasure for many years to come.
Our Mintridge tennis Ambassador soon made her way across school to present to Year 11’s and some sixth formers about surrounding yourself with radiators not drains, balancing academic, sporting and extracurricular activities, building an internal resilience and above all respecting those around you to reach your targets and goals. As Jade spoke about the highs and lows of her tennis careers, from Commonwealth Games medals, to injuries and losing sponsorship deals, she urged everyone to look at their own circumstances and link it together.
Fantastic questions followed, which included:
“Can you teach attitude?”
“Did you have any female role models when you started your career?”
“Did you ever show off when you were at the top of your game?”
“What stopped you from quitting when you were feeling down?”
Students were invited to post their aspirations and areas that they have taken from the discussions in the Mintridge Golden Post Box to really think about their own stories and pathways.
Before long, Jade was itching to get out on court and the Year 7 & 8 students were the lucky group to be up first, immediately followed by the Year 9 & 10 PE session. The lunchtime session rounded the day off and it was amazing to see just how many students arrived for a voluntary practice, which highlights the power of a sporting role model. Jade adapted each session according to the numbers and standard to prepare everyone for the tennis term that lies ahead after Easter.
Each session was great fun as we looked at individual skills before moving onto ground strokes and into games. Great improvement was seen as the success rate gradually rose throughout the morning and we loved seeing everyone relish the challenge when they were up against the Wimbledon star herself.
No Squadkit and Mintridge programme is complete without autographs, selfies and awards with Rishworth being no exception. If you would like to see the photos and videos from the day, please ask your school staff.
Following a delicious lunch, which was incredibly generous from Rishworth, Jade made her way back to sunny Lincolnshire. Thank you very much to the Rishworth students and staff for welcoming us so well into your school, there was an incredible buzz around the grounds which was infectious. Huge congratulations again to Willow for your Scholarship, and we are looking forward to following your progress over the next few years.
Thank you to our fantastic partners, Squadkit for inviting Jade to lead the day and we look forward to seeing everyone soon.
To find out more about Squadkit, visit: https://www.squadkit.com/