Meet the teacher behind sports stars like Harry Kewell and Michael Clarke

She was quick to teach new students what she calls “Westfield’s Way,” where they are expected to be disciplined not only in their chosen sport but also in the classroom. The attendance rate must be over 95 percent and students must make satisfactory progress on their schoolwork.

“Sport is not a right here, it’s a privilege,” she said.

Raw talent is important to students at the school, but she said staff expect other qualities from them as well, such as the ability to respect and work with others.

“You can’t change their gray matter or that ability, but you can definitely work with them,” she said.

Westfields was a breeding ground for Olympians. Since it was officially recognized as a sports university in 1992, more than 20 former students have represented the country.

They include three Matildas named in Australia’s preliminary squad for the 2023 FIFA World Cup: Ellie Carpenter, Courtney Nevin and Alanna Kennedy.

Other sports megastars the school has produced include former Socceroo player Harry Kewell – who Kenny said was always destined for great things, although other staff members weren’t always so confident in his abilities.

“He was always very confident about where he was going… He was very talented, he knew what his goal was,” she said.

Harry Kewell visits Westfield Sports High and speaks to future Socceroo Aaron Mooy.

Harry Kewell visits Westfield Sports High and speaks to future Socceroo Aaron Mooy.

“My sister-in-law also taught here, she was a top athlete herself, she was pursuing a career as a backup teacher and, she said, I remember telling him, ‘You need a plan B, not everyone can do it Harry ‘.” Famous Last Words.”


“He had a little cheekiness about him.” Former student Blake Green.Credit: Getty

Kenny can also remember Michael Clarke, future captain of Australia cricket team, as another schoolboy who was “very ambitious and very focused”.

Current Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja is also a former Westfields pupil.

In the 1990s, the school offered dance as a sport to attract girls to the school and achieve gender equality at the school. But in the decades that followed, a lot had changed for women who wanted to pursue a career in sports.

Kenny said that’s less of a problem now. The school is running a women’s rugby league program this year, while Australian rules open up more opportunities for girls.

“It’s really overwhelming … we’ve come a long way in a short amount of time,” she said.

Headmaster Andrew Rogers said Kenny seemed to know almost everything about the school.

“She knows every question, every request, every piece of information – she knows how to get things done. She knows who to call, she has the contacts, she has the knowledge and the passion,” he said.

Current 12th grader Rashid Kabba, 17, who is considering a career in hurdling, said he will miss her when she leaves.

“She’s super understanding, she’s kind, she can be a little strict,” he said.

Lorima Rokosuka, 16, a 11th grade student, admits he was a “naughty, naughty” kid in seventh grade, but Kenny helped him change his behavior.

“She’s been through everything with me, I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

“She has jokes, my parents know them very well. She is always there for me and wishes me good luck before my games.

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Justin Scaccy

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