New coat of Armour for St Paul’s sports stars

THE stress of juggling school and sport will be mitigated for a new generation of students at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, following the extension of its ‘Elite Sports Performers’ program to the Traralgon campus.

Created in 2012 at the Warragul campus to assist seven of the school’s year 12 students balance study and athletic pursuits, the program will soon cater to about 30 St Paul’s pupils from years seven to 12.

Last Wednesday’s Traralgon launch incorporated a question and answer session with former AFL star Leigh Brown, marathon swimmer Tammy Van Wisse, national swimmer Jeremy Meyer and former St Paul’s student and national judo champion Aoife Coughlan, to help introduce interested new students to the scheme.

Through collaboration with teaching staff, the program assists students with time management, prioritising, goal setting, communication and stress management in the face of consuming sporting schedules.

Program coordinator Scott Armour, a teacher and former St Paul’s student who developed the initiative, said it had proven effective in striking a balance between academia and athletic commitments.

“Fundamentally it’s about helping the students find a balance… because if they can’t find a balance often one will give way,” Armour said.

For Irish dancing national champion Chloe Lenders, who has missed chunks of up to a month of school at time with sport, the program has been a welcome lifeline.

“It was good that the communication was there; when I was away I was getting emails while training (from school) and things like that. If I spend a week away at an interstate competition I’ve got some help when I get back with keeping up,” she said.

Fellow year 12 program participant, swimmer Trent Morrow, said it had helped him streamline both pursuits.

“I have meets on almost every weekend, I train morning and night so I guess with that help it makes it a lot easier on myself; I’ve got a time where I can swim and a time I get to school and focus on my schoolwork instead of it being a big washing machine,” he said.

Heyfield local and current Gippsland Power coach Brown, who joined a four-person panel at the launch, said this type of measure helped all parties understand student needs in and out of the classroom.

“For the coaches it’s really important that schooling comes number one and that is the most important thing,” Brown said.

“It just opens up the communication and the lines to everyone to be on the one page and understand what the athletes are going through.

“In our program (at Power) we do a lot of travel and the training commitment is quite large… so being open and honest about whether you’re tired or fatigued physically or mentally it’s important for the teachers and coaches to know.”

For more information about the Elite Sports Performers program phone Scott Armour on 5623 5833 or email