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Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 13:54 UK

Usain Bolt's school - William Knibb High School, Jamaica

World Class 2012 in partnership with the British Council tell the stories of the schools where the dreams begin.

William Knibb High School is twinning with Langdon Park Community School, Tower Hamlets, London
Students at William Knibb High School
Pupils look forward to cheering on William Knibb stars at London 2012

William Knibb pride themselves on the high percentage of students who finish school and do well in their exams. The school aims to turn out well-rounded individuals who overcome the challenges of growing up in rural Jamaica to go on to make a significant contribution to Jamaican society.

Map of Jamaica
Students - 1187, ages 12 to 19
Teachers - 54
Where in the world? Martha Brae, near Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica
Languages - English and Spanish

The school currently has 1,187 pupils aged between 12 and 19.

Lessons are taught in English and some pupils also speak Spanish at home. Extra-curricular activities at William Knibb include football, cricket and athletics.

Current students are encouraged to follow in Usain's footsteps on the track and supported by a strong sports department.

Lightning Bolt's school days

Usain's athletic ability was obvious when he started at William Knibb in 1998. As well as being an outstanding track athlete he was also a keen cricketer and talented footballer.

Teachers encouraged him to focus his attention on athletics in his early years at the school and the hard work paid off when he won his first medal at the Jamaican high school championships in 2001.

Usain was a gangling athlete with ungainly form and uncommon speed
Lorna Thorpe, sports teacher

Usain is remembered by his sports teacher, Lorna Thorpe, as an oustanding athlete with "ungainly form and uncommon speed" and she credits him with almost single-handedly crediting rekindling worldwide interest in sprinting.

Students at William Knibb High School
Bolt honed his sprinting technique on the track at William Knibb

International athletics

Whilst at William Knibb, Usain rose to prominence in international athletics. In 2001 he made his debut in the Caribbean regional junior Championships (Carifta Games) and recorded a personal best in the 400m of 48.28 and came second in the 200m.

Returning to the Carifta Games a year later, he won the 200m and 400m. In the same year, 15 year old Usain went on to compete at the World Junior Championships in the country's capital, Kingston. A home crowd saw him win gold and record a personal best of 20.61 in the 200m and place second as part of the 4x400 and 4x100 relay teams.

We are proud of all our students and look forward to supporting Usain and our other athletes at London 2012
Lorna Thorpe, sports teacher

Fiercely competitive

When asked to name an animal to sum up the character of the school, William Knibb chose a tiger, whose fearless self-confidence reflects the school's sporting prowess.

Pupils and staff are proud of their school and would give visitors to the school autographed pictures of Usain on the dusty sports field where he trained to remember the school by.

Trelawny track superstars at London 2012

Staff and students have cheered Usain on throughout his meteoric rise to become the fastest man on the planet and are looking forward to watching him compete in the run up to 2012.

Pupils will also be supporting the school's other former students competing at London 2012.

As well as Usain, the school counts three other eminent track athletes who represent Jamaica on the international stage amongst their former pupils: Marvin Anderson is a 200m sprinter who competed at Beijing in 2008, Lerone Clarke is a 100m sprinter and Dane Hyatt specialises in the 400m.

Students at William Knibb High School
Students have followed Usain's meteoric rise in international athletics

World Olympic Dreams

Usain 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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see also
Discovering the source of the lightning Bolt
10 Aug 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Tom Daley introduces World Class 2012
27 Jul 10 |  World Olympic Dreams

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