Paralympic Gold Medallist Officially Unveils Wall Mural At Hebburn School
Josef Craig MBE in front of his artistic drawing by students at St Joseph's Catholic Academy
Young Sports Personality of the Year winner and paralympic swimming champion Josef Craig MBE has officially revealed a striking art display at his former secondary school in South Tyneside.
The mural at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, features Josef alongside other great sporting champions including tennis star Emma Raducanu, heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury, Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford and Dina Asher-Smith, an Olympic British sprinter.
The artwork has been created by students to promote and inspire pupils to enjoy sport and also demonstrate diversity as well as adversity, conveying the message of resilience and determination in challenging misfortune as well as accepting and understanding diversity.
Alicia Berry, assistant curriculum leader of PE at St Joseph’s, said:
St Joseph's Catholic Academy artwork display
“The role models chosen to feature in our stunning new art display have all fought hard for something and, as an education trust, we believe they’re sporting champions who should be looked up to for not just what they’ve achieved but for who they are.
“All of these champions have dared to be different; they’ve broken stereotypes and overcome great challenges to excel both as people and in their lives.
“It was wonderful to welcome Josef back to our school, in the 10th anniversary year of his 2012 Paralympics success and present to him the wonderful artwork of our talented pupils.
“Josef also showed his gold medal to students and spent time chatting with them, explaining his road to success and how he reached his goals.
“The whole idea behind the project is to remind our students that they should be proud of who they are, of their individuality and that they can do anything they want to do if they work hard, are resilient and put their mind to it.”
The art project began in September 2021 and was completed by student artists using a mixture of inks and acrylics to give a textured finish. The pupils studied different artist’s styles for inspiration and creativity.
L-R - Amelia Adair, Emily Booth, Lexie Mackin, Nancy Blackburm Alicia Berry and Josef Craig MBE
Josef shared his story with pupils who asked him questions about how he started swimming, how he remained motivated and driven to achieve what his has in life even when times were tough. They also asked how he stayed strongly mentally especially when he was selected to represent Team GB in the London 2012 Paralympic Games where he won a gold medal in the 400m freestyle at world record pace.
Josef Craig MBE said:
“It's been great to be back, it just seems like yesterday that I was walking around the school as a student.
“It was heart-warming to see the amazing artwork and the students are a credit to the school and their teachers.
“The students have put so much thought into the artwork and also the questions they asked me while I was visiting were great. I wish everyone the best in their studies and future success.”