With the Rugby World Cup just months away, England Rugby Union boss Stuart Lancaster took a break from preparations to visit his former school.
The head coach, who used to be a PE teacher at Kettlethorpe High School, officially opened their new 3G pitch.
The all-weather surface is one of only four suitable for full contact sports in Yorkshire.
More than 150 pupils from across the district took part in a sports festival which included a variety of team games.
Mr Lancaster spoke with the youngsters about the value of sport and said his time at the school as the best years of his life.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled to celebrate the opening of the pitch.
Mr Lancaster was also presented with an engraved whistle which he said he would use during the world cup.
Headteacher Tudor Griffiths said: “It is absolutely tremendous seeing Stuart back in school as this really helps to inspire the pupils.
“At the 3G pitch opening he talked to pupils and went all around the pitch talking to groups of pupils who were involved in a range of sporting activities. He signed autographs and posed for photographs with the pupils.
“He has certainly left a legacy that is inspiring for pupils both past and present and the fact that he is never too busy to support and promote community sports says a lot about him as a person.”
England will host the 2015 World Cup and their first match is against Fiji in September.