Hum­ble hero wants mo­bil­ity van for ex-pupil

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH | PUZZLES - RICHARD MAYS

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.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/STUFF

Pam Cress­well at Frey­berg High School’s ‘The Flat’ - a tran­si­tional class for pupils with dis­abil­i­ties.

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