A LITTLE school received big inspiration when a Paralympian visited Dungowan Public School this week.
Matt Formston shared his story with the students – from becoming legally blind by age five to winning gold for Australia.
Formston told the children his motto was: life has no barriers, only obstacles.
Relieving principal Kerri-Anne Hubble said Formston, the uncle of one of the school's kindergarten students, had volunteered his time to speak.
She said he had valuable lessons to share with the students about resilience and having a go, no matter the outcome.
“He is just one of these people that whatever he wants to do, he’ll do it,” Mrs Hubble said.
“He spoke about resilience, [for] them to think that they can try and do anything they want to do – just give it a go and not be frightened of failing; to keep going until you achieve your goal.”
Guts and glory
Formston was born with the genetic eye disorder macular dystrophy, and has no central vision and less than 5 per cent peripheral vision.
However, he’d learnt to ride a bike when he was four, and also played able-bodied ice hockey and rugby union growing up.
Formston told the children about how his parents had supported him, too – his father modifying a saw for him when young Matt wanted to learn how to build things.
Formson first represented Australia at the 2011 Para-cycling Road World Championships in Denmark, competing on a tandem with a sighted pilot.
He now has to his name 10 national titles, a world championship, a world record and a world cup gold medal – to name a few.
He made it to the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, competing with pilot Nick Yallouris in four events and scarcely missing out on medals in a couple of those.
Formston is also into surfing, scuba diving and photography, specialising in underwater images.
Mrs Hubble said the visit had been part of a “very busy and very productive” week at the school, which included joining with Nundle school for a NAIDOC event, and a pyjama and movie day for the end of term.
“We do lots of things for a little school,” she said.
“It’s a great little school and has certainly got a lot to offer.”