Boxer Kellie's a knockout with pupils at former school
Boxer Kellie Harrington was given a hero's welcome when she returned to her former school to encourage young girls to follow their dreams.
The 26-year-old, who took home a silver medal in the Women's World Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan last month, returned to St Vincent's Girls' School in Dublin's north inner city yesterday to thank her local supporters.
With pen and paper poised for an autograph, the little girls were delighted as she took to the stage to thank the community for its support.
"You can all do what I'm doing or you can do it in a different sport or in anything. If you really want it, you just put your mind to it. You set your target, your goals," she said.
"I hope in the future to be sitting down here watching some of you up here," she told the cheering throng.
The self-effacing young boxer then went through the assembly room to personally give each of her adoring young fans a high five.
"Kellie Harrington is awesome," said one of the pupils.
Her friend Susan Mangan presented her with a cheque for €2,500 from the local fundraising committee as well as a €5,000 donation on behalf of Dublin City Council to help fund her training programme.
She gratefully noted that the money will mean she will now be able to focus more on training and less on working to support herself and her career.
But she said she was also delighted to return to her old school to encourage other girls to achieve their goals.
"Anybody can do anything they want. You just have to put your mind to it," she told the Herald.
"If I can make two or three of the kids go on to follow their dreams, that makes all the difference to me," she said.
Her coach Jimmy Halpin said Kellie was truly an inspiration for the entire community.