RAY COLLINS: Celebration of Sporting Pathways

Last Saturday evening approximately 120 people gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening up of representative sport pathways to State and National level for students in Catholic schools.  

In 1994 the NSW Government opened up these pathways to students in all schools. They had previously been the domain of State schools only. Following discussions at government and departmental levels a Catholic Sports Coordinating Committee with Mrs Kathy Campbell as Chair was established to coordinate the involvement of Catholic schools across the state.

In 1995 students from Catholic schools were able to proceed through to state representation and in some sports to national representation for the first time. Until that point in time it was only in the sport of Secondary Schools Rugby League that a student in a Catholic school could participate at a national level.

Over the last 20 years, thousands of Catholic school students have represented their school, diocese, state and nation in a vast range of sports.

Our diocese has played a significant role in the development of these pathways and many of our teachers have coached or managed representative teams.

Our Primary students progress through their school carnivals to Diocesan selection carnivals and trials. From there they represent the diocese in selection trials for the Polding region, which encompasses the Dioceses of Wilcannia-Forbes, Bathurst, Armidale, Lismore, Maitland-Newcastle and Broken Bay.

Those selected in the Polding region then participate in the NSW Primary School Sports Association’s carnivals and championships from which NSW teams are selected to participate in School Sport Australia events on a national scale.

In our Secondary schools students represent their school at Diocesan carnivals and trials and then proceed through the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges trials to the NSW All Schools trials involving competition against NSW Combined High Schools (Government Schools) and Combined Independent Schools. NSW All Schools teams are then chosen to compete against other State teams in the School Sport Australia Championships.

Sport has always been a significant part of Catholic schools and the opportunities provided over the last 20 years have ensured that our students have the same opportunity to participate in sport at the highest level.

All of this has been achieved because of the willingness of teachers and principals to volunteer to take on roles of convenors, coaches, managers, trainers etc. This commitment is in addition to their full time roles in schools and entails hours of additional work. To all those who have been involved in enabling our students to represent at the various levels I extend my sincere thanks and congratulations on what you have achieved for our students over the last 20 years.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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