Columba sports director to visit Melbourne

Columba College sports director Shona Harvey at the Columba College gymnasium with sports prefect...
Columba College sports director Shona Harvey at the Columba College gymnasium with sports prefect Sophie Napper. Photo by Alistair McMurran.
Shona Harvey (nee Duncan) was a talented athlete and hockey player in her youth. She was selected in the New Zealand under-23 hockey squad and won a national relay bronze medal in athletics.

Over the past nine years she has been sports director at Columba College and has lifted the profile of sport at the school.

Harvey (50) was honoured last week when named as one of six recipients of sports study awards to visit top sports schools in Melbourne later this month.

The only other South Islander in the group is Richard James of Lincoln High School in Christchurch.

They will visit the Maribynong Sports College, the only government-funded specialist sports college in Australia, as well as observing an innovative sport-in-education project in central Melbourne schools.

"I see it as an award for Columba College and not just for myself," Harvey said.

"I have been encouraged by our principal Elizabeth Wilson and helped by other staff members."

The regional director of the Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association Des Smith said the six sports and travel awards "went to people who demonstrated outstanding leadership in sport in their own school and province.

"Columba College is fast becoming one of the country's leading sports schools with a high participation rate of 91%. It is also competing successfully at the top level in a number of sports."

Harvey has an honours board outside the school gymnasium that recognises top performers and encourages other pupils to excel at their sports.

"I've seen sport grow and develop at Columba," Harvey said. "My job is to help other people succeed."

A highlight that has given most satisfaction to Harvey was the formation of a 15-strong Sports Council at Columba College. It consists of parents, the sports prefects and four members of the teaching staff.

There have also been a number of competitive highlights for Columba College over the last nine years:

Biddy Skerten winning the school's first gold medal at the national secondary schools athletics championships in the 300m hurdles last year.

The senior girls 4 x 100m relay team winning the school's first national athletics medals with bronze medals in 2009 and 2010.

Athlete Laura Carruthers being a member of the New Zealand schools cross-country team that competed against Australia at Adelaide this year.

Samara Dalziel making the New Zealand hockey team for the Youth Olympics in 2010.

Mountain biker Laura Bridger winning the New Zealand under-17 cross-country title this year.

Five year 9 pupils from the Maniototo making the first hockey 11 and being selected in the Otago under-15 team this year.


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