British Fencing champion visits Mackie Academy

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Former British fencing champion, Keith Cook, paid a visit to Mackie Academy last Thursday as part of the ‘Sky Sports- Living for Sport’ scheme.

The scheme uses sporting stars to help young people build confidence within sport and simultaneously learn valuable life lessons.

Throughout the day, Keith ran sessions with a variety of age groups from age 12-16.

During his visit the athlete had students take part in a selection of energising activities. He also gave pupils an insight into his life and career.

Senior pupil at Mackie, Thomas Connon, told me: “He gave us some background on his life and how he dealt with dyslexia growing up”

Keith, an active ambassador for ‘Dyslexia Scotland’, discussed how he used the adversities he had faced throughout his adolescence as a tool in achieving success.

The accomplished fencer also used his so called ‘Six Keys to Success’ to motivate the students.

This involved teaching the pupils about practising ‘Mental Toughness’ to defeat any obstacles they may have to overcome in life.

Having the ‘Hunger to Achieve’ their goals was also preached in Keith’s introduction to his visit.

A clip promoted through social media by the school, shows the lively first years facing the ‘Rope of Fear’.

The juniors were instructed by Keith to run under a swinging skipping rope, at the risk of being smacked in the face.

Fortunately, all of the students made it through scot-free, charging at the large rope with perfect timing.

An element of competitiveness was also brought to the day when students were challenged with reaction time tests.

Standing across from another class mate; the pupils were to try and grab a cone from the floor before their opponent had a chance to get it.

In the adrenaline triggering test; Keith shouted ‘Go’ and the students began to snatch up the cones as quickly as humanly possible.

The fencing champions’ action-packed visit seemed to have a positive effect on the pupils; “I’d say the experience was really interesting and enjoyable,” fifth year, Thomas, concluded.

The ‘Living for Sport’ initiative has made a powerful impact across Scotland. Earlier in the year a student from Bo’ness was surprised with the ‘LFS Student of the Year Scotland’ award.

After starting up a successful dance club for poorly-disciplined young people, the award was presented to her by cycling champion, Sir Chris Hoy.

Keith will be visiting Mackie again this December.