Our Inspirational Role-Models
We are blessed at Holy Family to have two exceptional young sports people as our inspirational role-models. Both have spent time in school with us this term and we have learned so many amazing things thanks to them. Read on further to find out about Hannah and Ryan...
Hannah Russell MBE
Hannah, who is partially sighted, is a former pupil of Holy Family having attended the school from 2000 - 2007. When Hannah was in Year 3, she drew a picture of what she wanted to be when she grew up. The picture showed Hannah in a swimming costume as it was her dream to swim for Great Britain. In 2012, Hannah represented GB at The London Paralympics where she won one silver and two bronze medals in the pool.
Four years on, after countless hours of dedication and hard training, Hannah represented GB again in the Rio Paralympics. This time she was not to be denied her dream of the gold medal as she sensationally smashed the world record in the 100m backstroke as she sped to victory. Two days later Hannah collected the bronze in the 100m freestyle before once again claiming gold in the 50m freestyle the following evening. Hannah Russell is our very own double paralympic champion and we all love her at Holy Family.
When Hannah returned from Rio she visited us with her dad. She was delighted to be back 'home' in our school and spread joy with her constant smile, inspirational messages and genuine humility. It is a privilege for us to be able to call Hannah our friend and our role-model; we are exceptionally proud of all she has achieved and she has once again proven to us that we can do anything in life if we believe in ourselves and work hard.
Following her hard work, success and inspirational achievements, Hannah was awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours list 2017. Everyone at Holy Family is delighted for her.
Ryan is an amazing young man who displays all the qualities we value so highly at Holy Family. He is very hard-working, humble and passionate in all that he does. Ryan believes in helping others, raising awareness of inequality and showing everyone that you can achieve great things in life. His current awareness project 'Enabled not Disabled' aims to spread the message that people with disabilities have a powerful voice and should be given the same opportunities as able-bodied members of society. Ryan was born with Cerebral Palsy and spent the first 7 years of his life in a wheelchair. His parents were told that Ryan would never walk, never talk and may not live beyond his 10th birthday. His parents believed otherwise and had faith that Ryan would succeed. Feeding off his parents great strength and support, Ryan has conquered all the obstacles before him. He is currently studying at Brunel University, working as a physio & coach with young people, chasing his dream to be a professional chef one day...and turing himself into the fastest 100m runner and long jumper in Great Britain.
Amazingly, after only taking up athletics in early 2015, Ryan has established himself as number 1 in GB and recently broke the British long jump record for his category of disability with a jump of 4.61m. He achieved the qualifying standard for Rio 2016 but sadly was not selected due to a complex mix of funding & political issues. Undeterred, Ryan continues onwards with his mission of spreading the message 'Enabled not Disabled'. Amongst his many future ambitions, he has his sights set on becoming a Paralympic Champion in Tokyo 2020. When asked by one of the children "Do you think you will win a medal in Tokyo?" Ryan replied "Absolutely." Few who have met Ryan will doubt him.
Ryan has very kindly agreed to become an honorary member of Holy Family; we are privileged and proud to welcome him as one of our official role-models.