XXI Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay
Catholic College Wodonga Start of Day School Celebration
“It was a great experience and I loved every bit of it. Anyone who gets this opportunity is very lucky as it’s just an amazing thing to be a part of”, said an excited (and relieved) Sophie Weppner.
Sophie was chosen to be the first runner in the Queen’s Baton Relay that journeyed through Wodonga on Thursday 15 February. The 14 year old is in Year 9 at Catholic College Wodonga and was selected as a baton bearer due to her community participation with Wodonga Girl Guides and Baranduda Scouts.
Mum Andrea says, “At first Sophie didn’t see what all the fuss was about! However, in the past few weeks, the journey for her has been amazing, both as first baton bearer in Wodonga and commencing this journey in front of her whole school. The experience was both daunting and exciting. As a family, we are very proud of her achievements and feel very privileged to share in this special moment.”
Sophie’s individual honour was matched by her school’s pride when it was invited to be the ‘Start of Day School’ for the relay.
To celebrate, Catholic College staged a community breakfast barbeque, mini soccer games, and music – energetically played by school band ‘Pozer’ – on the sports oval. The Flying Fruit Fly Circus also performed for the audience, made up of students, their families, staff and three generations of the Weppner family. John Walker was in top form as Master of Ceremonies, while Year 7 and 8 students created colourful artwork to decorate the fence.
Another lovely moment was when Catholic College’s Junior QBR Ambassador, Chelsea Knight, presented Sophie with the baton.
As Sophie left the stage to walk a lap of the oval before started her official leg of the relay, students created a guard in her honour. While expecting to run 250m as a baton bearer, Sophie was asked to run an additional 250m down Silva Drive with the 1.4kg, 650mm long baton, which is made out of macadamia wood and reclaimed plastic.
“The baton was heavier than I expected after a while and was difficult to hold onto with one hand. My hand was just starting to drop as the next baton bearer came into view.”
While the whole school community came out in force to support the once-in-a-lifetime Commonwealth Games tradition, we can really only guess at the lessons students learned on this day, lessons that could not be taught in the classroom.