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June 3, 2021

Why this Aussie teacher believes every kid should play sport

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 10:06 pm

Stacey Hockin is a health and human development teacher and sports coordinator at Catholic College Wodonga, Victoria, and winner of the $20,000 cash prize in Rebel’s Sport is Calling competition. Here’s why she believes in the power of sport.

“I really enjoyed sport growing up. I wasn’t necessarily fantastic at it, but I enjoyed what it gave me: being outdoors, having a sense of pride, working with other people.

My school PE teacher, Bek Frantz, inspired me to become a PE teacher too. She was positive, fun and had confidence in her students, which gave us confidence in ourselves. Our school had quite a low socioeconomic status, so having someone believe in us was incredibly powerful.

I knew I wouldn’t be an elite sportsperson, but with that encouragement I loved being active, pushing my body, and healthy eating. I still do.

Now, as a school sports coordinator, I lead our health and wellbeing program. My vision is to have a health-focussed school culture.

We have about 1,200 students, with an increasingly diverse population, and we’re very focussed on social justice and being a positive influence in the community. I see sport as part of that mission.

Stacey encourages her own children to keep moving too. (Supplied)

For me, it’s important to get all our kids more active – not just the sporty ones. I want them to know they don’t have to be good at sport to enjoy it. The program offers them more ways to be active outside of competitive sport.

We see girls who benefit better from some light, fun activity – basic yoga, for example. It’s not too intimidating and helps them realise, ‘Hey this makes me feel good. I can do this.’

We’ve got record numbers of kids signing up and trying sports like badminton and table tennis, having a go at new activities.

We’re also organising talks from sportspeople and health experts to educate the kids about why it’s important to be active.

I believe sport is more important for young people than ever. Mental health and anxiety issues are very real. There’s a whole population of kids struggling with stress and overstimulation from constantly being on their screens and social media. I’ve seen research saying some kids are spending less time outside than prison inmates!

Sport boosts confidence at a crucial stage in young lives. For teenage girls, sport’s a place where they don’t have to worry about their hair and appearance, they just get in and do it.

It also lets them explore their strengths outside the classroom. You’ll see someone who struggles with an academic subject, but on a footy field or a netball court they can really shine and demonstrate excellence. They come out of their shells and reveal hidden depths.

Stacey places importance on having an active life. (Supplied)

Part of my role is encouraging preventative health behaviours: being physically active, looking at your sleep quality and eating well. And I’m establishing a staff wellbeing program, too. We’ll go for a swim, a walk – doing something positive for our bodies, knowing that we help our students best when we’re our healthiest selves.

With the competition prize money, we’re adding more active playground equipment and upgrading a shed as an activity space with all kinds of equipment – it’ll look a bit like a circuit training space. Something to suit all age groups, so the staff can use it too.

As a teacher, I hope I can plant a seed that helps empower young people. Even if we help just a few, it’s more than worth it.

rebel is on a mission to remind Australians that sport is an essential part of our everyday and something we can all benefit from. Head to to find out more.


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