Humble hero wants mobility van for ex-pupil
Teacher Pam Cresswell spends her working days hanging out at ‘‘The Flat’’.
A transition class at Palmerston North’s Freyberg High School, The Flat prepares its special needs pupils with literacy, numeracy, life and social skills for adult life in a workaday world under Cresswell’s compassionate guidance.
Nominated in glowing terms by colleagues and the parents of her pupils, Cresswell recently found herself the flabbergasted recipient of $10,000, as part of the ASB Good as Gold programme that rewards community heroes.
Cresswell had earned this level of respect and gratitude for her work at Freyberg’s Craig Centre, but was embarrassed by the attention.
‘‘It was a touching thing for them to go to all the trouble of nominating me. I don’t feel as if I deserve this. All teachers work really hard, and most teachers go the extra mile for pupils. I don’t feel I do any more than anybody else. The real heroes are the teacher aides,’’ she said.
She immediately put the money towards her Givealittle campaign to buy a mobility van for a former pupil she had taught for five years at Freyberg.
The page she started two years ago had so far raised $12,500 towards a van for 23-year-old Ghana Maya Neupane.
Neupane, who has muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease of the muscular system, arrived in New Zealand from Nepal seven years ago after 16 years in a refugee camp.
‘‘She was not diagnosed until she came to New Zealand. It is really important that Ghana has quality family and social life while she is still able to.
‘‘It would be life-changing for this family to be able to go out to the park with Ghana on a sunny day and make day trips so that they can enjoy our beautiful country together,’’ Cresswell said.
Pam Cresswell at Freyberg High School’s ‘The Flat’ - a transitional class for pupils with disabilities.