World Class 2012 in partnership with the British Council bring you the stories of the schools where the dreams begin.
St Mary's Croydon are twinned with Baltasound Junior High, Shetland Islands
St. Mary's have high 'hoops' for 2012
St. Mary's Catholic High School
Number of students - 734
Number of teachers - 58
Where in the world? Croydon, London
Years Luol attended: 1996 - 1999
One of the longest established schools in Croydon, the staff at St. Mary's believe any successful school is created from mutual respect between the school, pupils and their families. The teachers at St. Mary's try to encourage teamwork between all three.
St. Mary's Headteacher, Mr Ughwujabo, wants the students to "achieve the best possible," and he's clear on what he thinks makes the school special.
"There is mutual respect between teachers and pupils. Being a Catholic school helps us value every child," he said.
Luol at St. Mary's
St. Mary's Sports Day
Luol was obviously very athletic and excelled not only in basketball but in cricket, playing at County level while at the school
St. Mary's sports department
The Headteacher is proud of Luol's achievements and see's him as "a great ambassador for the school."
Mr. Ughwujabo remembers Luol, known by his middle name, Michael, when he started at St. Mary's: "when Michael first came to the school he was a very tall, slim boy and incredibly calm."
Even though Luol was only 11 when he started St. Mary's, sports teachers could already see his capabilites.
They told us, "you could tell straight away he was quite outstanding as a basketball player, he had great talent and potential."
IT class at St. Mary's
It's not just Luol who is seen as a role model to the pupils at St. Mary's. Luol's sister, Arek Deng, who represents Britain for women's basketball, frequently comes back to the school to train and coach pupils.
The teachers at St. Mary's were keen to share memories of Arek and Luol together. They remember how the Dengs would motivate each other in sport and work. One sports teacher told us, "Arek would make sure Luol took time out to study, while he would drag her up early in the morning for training."
St. Mary's hope to continue producing great sporting talent, with promising teams competing at borough, county and national level in Football, Cricket and Basketball.
World Olympic Dreams
Luol is one of the athletes being tracked as London 2012 approaches and they strive to make their Olympic dreams a reality.
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