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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Uni-school partnership an ‘eye opener’ for Ellana

Australian Catholic University student Ellana Koufadis coaching netball. Photo: SCS SPORT
Australian Catholic University student Ellana Koufadis coaching netball. Photo: SCS SPORT

Australian Catholic University student Ellana Koufadis says a new partnership with the Sydney Catholic Schools Sports Team, “was one of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences.”

In April 2022, SCS Sports formed a partnership with the Faculty of Exercise Science at ACU, in which eight students would have the opportunity to complete their mandatory community engagement hours with the SCS Sports Team.

In 2023, the collaboration was formalised, with over 80 students across several degrees participating in the program, and over 1800 hours of community engagement recorded to date.

Ellana Koufadis, now in her third and final year of study for her Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, was part of the initial group to partake in the partnership.

She can’t speak highly enough of the experience.

“It gave me the chance to put my interpersonal skills and knowledge learnt from my course into practice” she said.

Ms Koufadis said the partnership, “allowed me to apply core topics learned within my course … I learned to be more patient and enhanced my problem solving and communication skills.”

Despite the educational benefits of the collaboration, Ms Koufadis explores how her participation in the partnership has helped strengthen her personal relationship with God.

As a former student of Mount St Joseph Catholic College Milperra, she said the familial environment of a Catholic school has helped revive her faith.

She says that the partnership has allowed her to “rekindle my relationship with my faith and the schooling community during busy times with university and work commitments.”

Along with education and faith benefits, Ms Koufadis said the enthusiastic and supportive conditions of the partnership have led to her, “fulfilling principles such as building connections, acting with humility, providing empathy and compassion and pursuing justice for all individuals to promote equal participation in sport.”

On a community level, the benefits of this partnership are endless.

“This partnership showcases the valuable opportunities within the Catholic organisations but also provides SCS Sport with much-needed assistance,” said primary founder of the partnership, SCS education officer Anna-Kate Turnbull.

“School communities have turned it into an engaging and rewarding opportunity to interact with peers in other schools creating a compassionate and inclusive society,” Ms Koufadis said.

“I believe this partnership is extremely beneficial for university students as it gives you practical experience within your field of interest and assists in determining your future career plans.”

Although Ms Koufadis has completed her required engagement hours, her time working with SCS Sports still lives on and shines through in many aspects of her day-to-day life.

Following the completion of the program, Ms Koufadis was suggested to apply for the role as a General Sports Officer (GSO) at SCS, a role in which she is enabled to continue living on the joys of the initial partnership.

“My role as a GSO is very similar in terms of having the opportunity to interact with a range of diverse students and assisting them with their participation.” she said.

“This role is very flexible and rewarding, and creates a positive society through participation in sport for all students of all abilities.”

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