On Friday we were treated to a rather special assembly by Year 2. It was the story of a little girl that loved dancing.
It was the story of Ms Noel-Smith, one of our school teachers, who has also enjoyed an amazing career as an international rugby player. She did love dancing, but she was also very bored watching her brothers play rugby so joined in and she loved that too and was very good at it. The boys and girls of Year 2 narrated her story, each enrobed in one of Miss Noel-Smith's rugby jerseys.
Ms Noel-Smith, fondly known as SnowFish by the children, met many hurdles along the way. In the beginning she was the only girl in the team and was sometimes teased. Then, at age 12, she wasn't allowed to play with the boys any more and there was no girls' team for a couple of years. By age 17 she was selected to play for England and scored a try in her first ever game representing her country. At age 22 she was in the full England squad, helping them to win the 6 Nations Grand Slam. She travelled the world and played for the England 7s.
All that success came to an abrupt halt when was 25 year old and she wasn't chosen for the England team. She was deeply upset. Ms Noel-Smith realised that she had been putting herself under so much pressure to play well and impress the coaches that she wasn't playing well at all. She forgot that the reason she played was to have fun. So she trained very hard, but focused most on enjoying herself, playing alongside her friends.
Within two years she was having fun and playing much better and back in the England squad. Miss Noel-Smith suffered many injuries, but always fought back to play again. She played for England and beat lots of other countries and took part in another 6 Nations Grand Slam, and Autumn Series, a Summer Series and was runner up in the World Cup.
She has had an amazing sporting career, despite all of the setbacks. It's a story with a clear message for the children from someone they know well - to never give up (even if you're told you're not good enough) to dream big, work your hardest and to make sure you're enjoying yourself.