Best foot forward in free shoes

MICHELLE DUFF
EDUCATION REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 01/06/2012
Victoria Jing Khang
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

STEP UP: Glenview School pupils in Cannons Creek get free shoes. From left, 5-year-old Victoria Jing Khang, 6-year-old Lyric Koia, Soloman Pule, Viti Glensor and Jhan Piwari-Sing, all aged 5.

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If new shoes were a curriculum subject, pupils at Glenview School, in Porirua, would have passed with flying colours.

Sitting up straight with their arms folded, the classroom of 5 and 6-year-olds intently studied the boxes placed in front of them.

With a nod from principal Gaylene Hill, they flung open the crisp white lids and began pulling on their brand new kicks.

"I got new shoes, I got new shoes," a group chanted yesterday, leaping around in delight.

"Yay, they fit me!" enthused Lyric Koia, 6, before taking off for a practice run.

"I like these shoes because they're new. They're cool," said classmate Viti Glensor, 5.

All 81 pupils at Glenview were presented with a pair of new shoes yesterday as part of an initiative led by North Porirua Baptist Church

Every winter, the decile 1 school had problems with kids arriving at school in completely inappropriate footwear, Ms Hill said.

Ripped shoes, no shoes, sandals on freezing cold days, and footwear too big or small was very common in the low-income school.

"In winter, our roll always goes down a little because of flus and colds, and if we can avoid that with decent shoes, that would be great."

North Porirua Baptist Church parishioner Simon Legg aims to provide new shoes for every pupil at nine schools in low-income areas of Wellington.

The shoes are provided at a discount by New Balance, with Mr Legg fundraising at his church and workplace, BNZ, for each pair. So far he has given 420 pairs to four schools, with $2800 worth of fundraising still to go for five more schools.

Contact Michelle Duff
Education reporter
Email: michelle.duff@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @michelle_duff

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- The Dominion Post

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