ACG Parnell College’s sporting profile has been given a big boost thanks to the energy and expert guidance of sports coordinator Steph Trowill.
Since Steph joined the school in January 2019, sporting opportunities and participation rates have skyrocketed. The school has fielded a golf team, a girls football team, a girls tennis team and a handball team for the first time, and weightlifting has also been introduced. Students have represented the school in rowing and triathlon – neither of which were previously offered – along with rugby, forming composite teams with Marcellin last year and Onehunga High for 2020.
Also, under Steph’s tutelage, our top swimmers and athletics students have represented the school at College Sport Zone events and the Auckland Champs, and Year 7 and 8 pupils have participated in the Intermediate Eastern Zone events. Steph’s unwavering passion for sports has been a driving force at the school, and students across all year levels are reaping the benefits.
“I believe it is so important for kids to be playing sport, it is a crucial part of their growth and development,” says Steph, who was also responsible for launching the highly anticipated Staff vs Leavers Series, which kicked off last year.
“Other than the obvious benefits of both physical and mental health, sport empowers us with life skills. We have a better understanding of ourselves, develop social skills and learn to get along with people of all ages. And most importantly, we learn about commitment.”
Badminton and football have also flourished since Steph’s arrival at ACG Parnell College. The school’s top badminton team played in the Auckland premier grade for the first time in 2019, placing second, while the number of school badminton teams has nearly doubled. Meanwhile the recent launch of an ACG Parnell College Football Academy will see the school becoming an extremely strong contender on the football field too.
“We had so much football talent across our Year 7 and 8 group in 2019 so I brought the best of them together to form the academy. My hope is for this group to stay together over the course of their time at ACG Parnell and become a very strong Senior First XI when they hit Years 11 to 13.”
Steph’s love of sport stems from her own journey at high school, where she was a keen touch rugby and cricket player and represented Auckland and New Zealand in football. She attributes her sporting success, in part, to the support of her school sports coordinator who nurtured and encouraged her to fulfil her potential.
“When I was at secondary school you would often find me in the sports office at break times. The school sports coordinator put so much time into my sporting pursuits to help me succeed on and off the field and he was a huge influence on me. Seeing the impact he had on school sport and young people made me want to become a sports coordinator too.”
After leaving school Steph gained a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation majoring in Management, and prior to joining ACG Parnell College she worked for the Auckland Football Federation. She may have only been at ACG Parnell for 18 months, but the impact she’s had on the school is remarkable – and the highlights are many.
“In 2019 I was most proud of seeing 23 of our Middle School students attend the New Zealand AIMS Games. It was an increase of 17 from the previous year, and it was amazing to see them all conduct themselves in a great manner and represent ACG Parnell with such pride. We even managed to walk away with four medals which was fantastic.”
As for this year, getting a girls tennis and football team off the ground has been among Steph’s proudest moments.
“Getting girls involved has been a huge focus of mine this year so to get not just one, but two girls-only sports teams up and running for the first time in the school’s history is amazing. Credit must go to the girls involved as they have all shown the desire and commitment to make it happen.”
However, Steph believes it is not just playing sport that is important. Celebrating it is also fundamental.
“Since joining ACG I’ve implemented a number of sports awards. At our end of year prizegiving we now have cups for junior and senior sportsman and woman of the year, and throughout the year, a number of other trophies such as team, coach and student volunteer of the year are presented.”
And what’s next on her radar?
“In the future my hope is to have a sports awards evening for all of our teams to attend, where the most valuable players for each code are presented along with all our sporting trophies.”