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Invictus Games creates an arena for courageous life lessons

The Invictus Games has opened eyes and minds of thousands of students from all over the state.

Students Zoe Mills and Elouise Reid hug a bear called Cobber, who is the Invictus games mascot

Rydalmere East Public School students Zoe Mills and Eloise Reid were lucky enough to catch up with the Invictus Games mascot “Cobber”.

Watching wounded warriors compete courageously has reinforced important life lessons to thousands of students from all over the state at the Invictus Games at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Through the Department of Education’s Invictus Education Project the Games became more than just a sporting event.

Resilience and courage were personified as students cheered at events, tried competition sports or contemplated the challenges of creating prosthetics limbs.

The Invictus Games uses the healing power of sport to bring together wounded and ill service personnel and veterans to promote comradeship, support and recovery.

By the end of the week, more than 6000 students will have been through the Invictus Education Project and they will leave with a heightened respect for the sacrifice and service of our defence forces.

For the students of Rydalmere East Public School, where around 30% of students are from defence families, participating in the Invictus Education Project was a special opportunity.

“Invictus is a chance to connect with something that is special to our school community,” principal John Carters said.

“It’s an amazing project and by learning about resilience and other values, it helps our students become active citizens.”

For Year 6 student Summer Wheeler, the Invictus Games and education project had special meaning.

“Both my parents are in the defence force,” Summer said.

“I would not like to see them have to leave defence through injury as they would lose mates and courage.

“That’s why Invictus means so much to me.”

While at the Invictus Games, Kindergarten student, Zoe Mills held “Daddy Bear” close as a reminder of her father currently serving as Executive Officer on HMAS Parramatta.

Invictus Games Chief Executive Office Patrick Kidd OBE visited the education precinct.

He was impressed by the number of students involved and their enthusiasm.

“This is an absolutely unique opportunity for students to see something that has got incredible energy,” Mr Kidd said.

He urged every student to be inspired by the competitors.

“Look at those individuals, think about what they are doing and think about what you can do in your own life and the lives of those people close to you,” he added.

From clashing wheelchairs to applying science and technology, the Invictus Games challenged body and brain.

Students from The Crescent School travelled from Goulburn to cheer on swimmers at the Aquatic Centre; Bilgola Plateau and Peats Ridge public school students played off against Lynwood Park Public in seated volleyball and students from Asquith Girls High and Mulwaree High discovered there is no holding back in wheelchair basketball.

At the prosthetics workshop, guided by the University of NSW Women in Engineering, students from many schools including King Street, Northbridge, Beresford Road and Wattawa Heights public schools discovered human ingenuity was helping those relying on prosthetics to go ahead in leaps and bounds.

Wentworth Point Public and Granville Public were among the schools to have students fall in love with the Assistance Dogs before learning about the valuable role they could play in the lives of wounded and ill service veterans.

Students who could not attend the Games could engage in YouTube broadcasts and virtual excursions developed for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Education Project on the Department of Education’s Learning Systems YouTube channel.

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