Education Week - Victorian Sports Awards

Being active is an important part of school life at Oakleigh South Primary School in Melbourne’s south-east, with almost 80 per cent of the school’s Grades 4-6 students participating in club sport outside school in addition to sports at school. 

Principal Ron Cantlon said the school had worked hard to develop relationships with local sports and community organisations to offer students a wide range of sporting activities as healthy bodies equalled healthy minds. 

“When kids feel good about themselves they do better at school. “All students have the opportunity to take part in a range of sporting activities and we support being inclusive as well as achieving your personal best.” 

Grade 5 student Ori Drabkin is one of the school’s sporting successes, having achieved at a state and national level in athletics. His mother says his Grade 3 teacher Ms Smith was a big influence in helping Ori achieve his success as she never gave up on him. 

For 11-year-old Ori, having been born with cerebral palsy has never been a barrier to being able to achieve his sporting dreams. “Sport keeps me active and awake at school and I do it almost every day,” he explains. 

In February this year, Oakleigh South and Ori’s sporting achievements were acknowledged at the annual Victorian School Sports Awards. The school took home the Outstanding School and Community Partnerships Award and Ori was one of four athletes to win an Athlete with a Disability Award for his dedication, sportsmanship and being such a positive role model.

Another winner at the awards was Linley Ooi from Melbourne Girls’ College, who was named the Lindsay Gaze Award winner for demonstrating outstanding dedication to both school and community sport. For 16-year-old Linley, playing sport and keeping a healthy body helps her maintain a healthy mind and focus in school.

The year 11 student has been a keen sportsperson since she was young, trying basketball, taekwondo, and other sports before settling on golf. “I’ve always showed interest in helping other kids at the golf club,” she says.

“I feel like we need to educate the younger kids to continue what they love and continue in sport.” With a dream of one day becoming a professional golfer, Linley also has a desire to help those less fortunate than herself.

Last year she travelled with the Red Dust organisation to Areyonga, an Indigenous community near Alice Springs, where she spent time teaching healthy living and sport, particularly golf. “There’s no words to describe that experience,” she said.

As featured in Leader Newspapers on 8 May, 2017. Image credit: David Crosling.