The oft-quoted assumption that regions don't come first doesn't ring true in the Gwydir Valley where one community has pulled together in support of the next generation.
Warialda Public School, with 220 students, has consistently punched well above its weight to excel in all disciplines.
Principal Dan van Velthuizen recalls with pride the 2019 NSW rugby union championship win against establishments with five times their enrollment, coming at a time when the district needed a diversion from the mental anguish of drought.
Last year Warialda Public placed third among NSW schools in Rugby League and this year its touch football team scored the same result.
"It just shows how invested we are in our students and their outcomes," Mr van Velthuizen said.
The latest sport-hero to blossom at Warialda is Hugo Barwick, 10, who also got a bronze medal at state level in the high jump with a leap 12cm below his personal best.
On Friday he will compete in the national track and field championships at Launceston, hoping to bring his personal best to competition.
Mr van Velthuizen quoted his own department's mantra that "every student is known, valued and cared for" to explain Warialda Public's culture in and out of the classroom.
"If we get that right everything else follows," Mr van Velthuizen said."
Vice principal and sports co-ordinator Naomi Cole works on students' skills during her lunchtime whether that be dance, drama or the high jump.
In Hugo's case midday practice is filmed and relayed to a Brisbane based coach who comments immediately with helpful advice.
Mr Cole recently drove Hugo to the Queensland capitol - more than 600 kilometres round trip - so he could work with the coach face-to-face.
"Naomi is totally all-in," explained Mr van Velthuizen. "She lives and breathes it as do we all. Sport is the easy one to see while what goes on in the classroom is not as attractive but all our effort is on show.
"This is all about good people. Success comes down to great relationships."
Mr van Velthuizen said the school's size worked in its favour as it was big enough to offer good support while remaining small enough so that "everyone knows everybody".
"And the Warialda community is so strong; we're so well supported.
"As they say it takes a village to raise a child."
Hugo's classmates will be cheering his effort on Friday but whatever the outcome he's already a winner in Warialda's eyes.
"Hugo's brother Harry has a gold medal from the rugby win so there is motivation there and his personal best height is extraordinary," said Mr van Velthuizen. "Hugo's work ethic is remarkable and he wants to be better. At the same time he's the most modest, unassuming young man."
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