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News posted on Tuesday 18th January, 2022

How one Hayden inspired another: Hobsonville students go the distance

Hayden Preston running 10km

Hayden Preston, a student at Hobsonville Point School in Auckland, recently completed a school project that involved raising funds for Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ). Hayden, together with a group of friends, raised just over $500 for PNZ. We were thrilled to be Hayden’s chosen charity and chatted to him about the project.

As part of their study programme for P.E. and social sciences, Hayden’s class were looking into participation and inclusion of disabled and transgender athletes. They were set a project whereby in just two weeks they had to make a difference to a disabled or transgender community.

A few months earlier in 2021, Hayden had enjoyed watching the New Zealand Paralympic Team participating in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In particular, he was enthralled with Wheelchair rugby and especially inspired by New Zealand Wheel Blacks Team Member, Paralympian #212 Hayden Barton-Cootes. These memories were still fresh in his mind and inspired Hayden to support the disabled sport community by raising funds for PNZ. Lucky us.

Given the project was a blend of the PE/Social Science curriculum, Hayden decided that a physical challenge should be part of the project and set himself a goal of running 10km within the two-week period. 

Hayden gathered support from classmates for them to also raise funds for PNZ. They too set themselves physical challenges. Finlay set himself a challenge of lifting 36kg in seated lateral pull-downs and Abby, Amber and Stef chose to do a short workout twice an hour for 8 hours; the workout involving push ups, high-stepping, cobra stretch, planking, jumping jacks and mountain climbers.

Hayden took the lead as the main organiser of the challenge and set up a group chat so they could motivate each other. He also set up the Givealittlepage as the vehicle for raising funds for PNZ and rallied support from friends and family. Off they set to achieve their goals in 2 weeks and raise funds for PNZ along the way!

Reflecting on his decision to run 10km, Hayden admitted he wasn’t much of a runner before starting the challenge and part way through he wondered if he’d been overly ambitious.

“10km was a lot further than I thought”.

Hayden reflects on the challenge he set himself.

Having completed the challenge, Hayden learnt that by pushing himself a bit, and with practise, he could do things that at first seemed hard. Next time, Hadyen thought he would allow himself a bit longer than 2 weeks in which to achieve his goal!

Hayden reflected also on the experience of being the leader of a project. Previously he said, he would have been one of the group, going along with things rather than managing all the admin and making it happen. This had been a positive experience also, again proving to himself that he can do things like this.

And the best part – Hayden, Finlay, Abby, Amber and Stef achieved their goals and raised $506 for Paralympics New Zealand. A wonderful example of a community fundraising initiative.

Thank you Hayden, Finlay, Abby, Amber and Stef.

Find out more about becoming a Community Fundraiser for Paralympics New Zealand

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