Building Personal Capacity through Sport

Chris Ivey / Academic

This week we celebrated both our Secondary and Primary sports awards presentations

29 October 2021

From our Principal Chris Ivey: Building Personal Capacity through Sport

This week we celebrated both our Secondary and Primary sports awards presentations and it was great to welcome some sporting legends from the Australian Women’s Water Polo team and Australian Netball team. As always, Mr Robson, our Director of Sport ran a wonderful event and in his welcome, he spoke about our focus on both participation and performance. This continues to be a hallmark of the St Andrew’s sporting program, particularly in the last few years when we have taken further steps toward supporting our teams who are keen to work hard and aim high in their sport, as well as continuing to encourage and applaud the social teams who simply want to have a go at a new sport, or just stay fit, active and healthy with their friends. 

I admit that when I was at school, sport was very much around performance, applauding the success of the First 15 or Rowing teams and never about encouraging us to exercise to be active and healthy. While I played sport; it was a compulsory part of an independent boys' school, I think it was this lack of capacity at my school to focus on the balance between encouraging participation and performance that ensured I didn’t fully engage with sport or exercise until I left school. I needed to see that sport was more than just performance and something for my best. My Uni days were spent biking to Uni and back, mostly due to student poverty. Then I married a physio! When Elizabeth and I were first married we were living in Cairns, we would swim laps every day after work. My love for running came a little later in life when Brad Bowen, Jane Cooksley and a previous member of staff, Peter Gazzola and I entered as staff members in the inaugural St Andrew’s team in the Kokoda Challenge for the very first time back in 2009. We were a fairly disparate group, but we focussed on participation, showing teamwork, commitment, and resilience…we just wanted to cross the line! We started with four teams and 16 students, all doing 48kms. Fast forward to 2021, St Andrew’s entered a record number of teams and as in years past, again took out the 48km school’s trophy. The Kokoda challenge, like so many other sporting opportunities is more than just the competition. It is where we learn about ourselves, where we learn about teamwork, commitment, resilience, and where we work hard to achieve a goal.

Sport, like so many other aspects of what we offer at the College, plays a unique part in the overall development of our children and we are fortunate to live in a part of the world where it is easy for us to be out and about, to be active and to have so many opportunities to be building fitness. Each of the elite athletes who were interviewed  were asked various questions by Mr Robson about themselves, what came through for me was an extremely strong sense of goal setting, teamwork, of working together, of looking out for each other and of showing commitment.

If St Andrew’s aim is to grow young men and women of character, then we need to encourage our students to take on the wide range of opportunities that our College offers. Not to be ‘the best’ or because it is a way to keep them entertained, but rather it is a way to build into their personal capacity. At no other time in life is there such an ability to ‘have a go’ at such a wide range of opportunities. Be it sport, performing arts, outdoor education, robotics, tournament of minds, chess club, service activities, choir or band, they all contribute to the learning journey of each and every student.

Best wishes


Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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