NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes have ignited the Olympic dream for students at Narrabeen Sports High School (NSHS) at a special event to recognise the school as one of the seven sports schools selected for the Australian Olympic Pathway Program.

NSWIS scholarship holders, NSHS’ very own Ruby Trew (Skate boarding and Surfing), Matilda Kearns (Women’s Water Polo) and NSWIS alumni Jo Brigden-Jones (Canoe Sprint)  shared with the aspiring Olympians their high performance experiences, highlighting the common challenges involved with being a student-athlete.

All three NSWIS athletes identified the positive impact the Australian Olympic Pathway Program has had and will continue to have, bringing more understanding to the discipline, time management, and commitment required to balance the busy life of a student-athlete.

The day commenced with motivational footage captured from previous Summer and Winter Olympic Games to set the scene on the rich historic success Australian athletes have achieved.

Cathy Brennan (Director Public Schools NSW, Department of Education and Communities) shared empowering words recognising how much opportunity the partnership will create, reiterating that “education and sport go hand in hand”.

Cathy Brennan said:

“New South Wales is backing you and hope that this program will open doors for your sporting careers in this ground-breaking partnership.”

James Edwards (Chief of Community Engagement at the AOC) engaged all three athletes about their personal experiences juggling the demands of being an athlete with their school schedule.

Ruby Trew, (current student at NSH) was very grateful for the pathway. She said:

“Narrabeen Sports High School have joined the pathway program for the Olympics and that’s very amazing that athletes like me can go to school and train as well. My teachers and staff have helped with my timetable to balance out school and skateboarding has really helped me out.”

Jo Brigden-Jones said:

“I think it’s amazing program initiative to have, I look back on my school days and I was fortunate to have supportive teachers who were flexible but there was definitely a lot of tough times. Like should I do year 12 over two years all those things and struggles you have.”

“To have a specific program like this set up in sporting schools, you will be driven to come to school, to keep participating in sport and see there is a pathway to be successful in school and sport.”

After a series of questions from James Edwards (AOC) to all three NSWIS athletes, the floor was opened to students to ask about the challenges, guidance, and advice on how to navigate schooling and the commitment of achieving the Olympic dream.

There were some good words of encouragement from Matilda Kearns as she said:

“It’s important to not be too hard on yourself” focusing more on showing up and doing the little things right will go a long way when unavoidable setbacks present themselves.

The NSWIS athletes provided a unique insight and engaged with students from Narrabeen Sports High School, leaving them feeling motivated for a very bright future in the lead up to a home Games in Brisbane 2032.

Mitch Soames, NSWIS

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