As Robert Kennedy, the former United States Attorney General, so famously said “we live in interesting times.  They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.”  The actions of the Year 7 students of Hampton Senior High School Perth are proving this point, with their personal and academic goals after the lock down due to COVID-19 in February 2020.

Sports Challenge (SCA) was enlisted by the school to complete an induction and team building day for all Year 7 students (11 and 12 years old) at the start of the year with a myriad of 26 SCA mentors from Olympians, NBL basketballers, State League Soccer Players, Urban Dance and Trapeze experts, all with a passion to assist students on life’s uncertain journey.

Basketball Legend Mike Ellis & Yr 7 discuss goals

No one envisaged how important the establishment of these goals were, until the pandemic hit and students were isolated at home, away from their peers and their school.  With a set of skills developed with SCA, many of these students did not loose their focus on what they could achieve in such extraordinary times.

Supported by a ‘world first’ initiative, SCA has developed an innovative and novel link for each student to their SCA mentor on our website called E-PALS.  This has allowed student to be linked to an important other (their SCA mentor) 24 x 7 for ongoing support and communication during these uncertain times.

When the SCA mentors returned this term to check on how the student’s goals were progressing, the response was outstanding.  Many of the students had already achieved both their goals and many more were following the SCA steps to achieving them before the end of the year.

Olympic Kayak Finalist Jesse Phillips with his group

As former NBL Captain/Coach of the Perth Wildcats, Mike Ellis, and Olympic Kayak London Games finalist, Jesse Phillips, explained: “Wow we were blown away by how responsive the students had been during the lockdown.  Students told us it gave them the necessary quiet time to really think about having a positive aspirational goal, with support from their SCA mentor to achieve it.”

This was also supported by John O’Connell our SCA Soccer Legend, a past player and coach, when

Soccer Legend John O'Connell & Danika Keegan, Hampton SHS, with the "Soccer World Cup"

he said: “ I brought along a replica of the Soccer World Cup to show the students how anything is achievable with the right attitude, a plan and most importantly people to support them.  With the women’s World Cup coming up in Australia some of these girls could hold this trophy a loft and I love ‘being part of their journey’.

As the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) said: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” it seems to the SCA mentors that the Yr 7 students of Hampton SHS have a chance to set a new direction and have shown us they can achieve whatever it is they choose to do?  The journey continues!