Everything relies on the efforts of volunteers

John McRae with his Mount Aspiring College basketball team. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
John McRae with his Mount Aspiring College basketball team. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Volunteers are the real champions of school sport. Organising and running school sport is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and passion. Volunteers play a vital role in ensuring pupils can pull on a uniform and take part in many opportunities. Whether it be coaching, managing teams or driving a van, we couldn’t do it without them.


Name: John McRae.

Volunteer role: Junior boys basketball coach.

John has been coaching the Mount Aspiring College junior boys year 9-10 basketball team for more than 12 months, including weekend practices throughout the year.

Before he took up the role as MAC basketball coach, he frequently spent time on the basketball courts running sessions for his son and his son’s friends.

John discovered basketball while attending John McGlashan College in Dunedin as a boarder. His passion up until year 10 was rugby, but he made the switch to basketball in his senior years at school.

Through the coaching and mentoring of one of his house masters at the boarding hostel, Willie Willams, he found his purpose and set himself a goal to be the best he could be, not only on the court but in life itself.

By coaching the Mount Aspiring College junior basketball team, John is seeking to pass on his passion for the sport to the pupils.

He hopes he is not only making a difference by teaching the players ball skills, but also giving them some valuable life skills.

Mount Aspiring College is very lucky to have parents like John who volunteer their time and expertise to give such great support to our pupils.


Roger Hill
Roger Hill

Name: Roger Hill.

Volunteer role: Coach of First XV rugby and First XI cricket.

Roger has been involved in Dunstan High School for a long time, giving back to the school he once attended.

He has been involved in the coaching environment since 2018 when he coached the under-14 rugby team and cricket team when his son Jamie started at DHS.

Roger has then been working his way up the grades in each sport, and for the past two seasons, he has coached the cricket First XI which had very successful seasons in the 20- and 40-over competitions, winning both the Jim Barrie and Partridge Cup back to back.

Roger is also coaching the rugby First XV this year which has had an unbeaten start to the season.

Currently, Roger gives six to 10 hours per week to our school teams in coaching. He is also a referee and committee member.

The time Roger gives up to coach is valued very much, as he also runs a successful family business in town.

He coaches to help kids learn, as he has played the sports and felt he needed to give back. His highlight so far is winning the cricket competitions.


Briar Holgate
Briar Holgate
Name: Briar Holgate.

Volunteer role: Netball coach.

Lawrence Area School has several pupil volunteer coaches in a variety of sports.

Year 10 pupil Briar Holgate has been working with the school’s year 1-2 netball programme pupils alongside Gemma Bradfield.

It is her second year as assistant coach and she has goals of achieving qualifications to enable her to coach at higher levels in the future.

Briar has played netball for 10 years and has a good knowledge of the game, while her playful nature ensures that the young players are enjoying themselves while learning basic netball skills.

Lawrence Area School is proud to have Briar as a role model for their budding netball superstars.

Erica Stedman gives a halftime talk to the Logan Park High School senior girls basketball team.
Erica Stedman gives a halftime talk to the Logan Park High School senior girls basketball team.

Name: Erica Stedman.

Volunteer roles: Coaching (six years).

Erica began volunteer coaching as a year 11 pupil while she attended Logan Park High School as a way to learn more about sport and give back to the sports that she enjoyed.

She coached younger pupils throughout her years in the senior school in both volleyball and basketball, and upon leaving school continued coaching both junior and senior teams in both sports.

Erica’s passion for coaching is about helping younger people enjoy their participation, involvement in sport, grow in skill and knowledge, and also facilitating great experiences for others. Erica has a strong belief that sport is for anyone of any ability.

Her interest and passion for coaching has only continued to grow after she left school and she is now in the final year of her degree in sport and exercise science at the University of Otago and planning to do postgraduate teacher training in 2023.


Jean Allibone
Jean Allibone
Name: Jean Allibone.

Volunteer role: Water polo coach and handball manager.

Time with Kavanagh College sport

Six years.

Why do you continue to lead teams of pupils?

I enjoy the connection you get with pupils. Seeing them outside the classroom allows you to form good relationships with pupils to enable them to develop their sporting skills.

What keeps you motivated?

The connection you get with people through sports are connections that you have for a very long time. The experiences that people get from extracurricular activities are often the most memorable from their time at school.

Why did you volunteer?

Because I enjoy doing it and being able to watch people develop their sporting skills and make connections outside the classroom. I’m not very good at saying no.

Tell us about your sporting background/journey

At Kavanagh, I don’t help with any of the sports I played growing up. I was a rep hockey player, but I don’t coach hockey at all. I also swam and I played basketball at school but all the other sports I am now involved with weren’t a thing in the town I grew up in.

I grew up in a small town so there wasn’t much choice as to the sports you played.

Do you have an interest in sports that you aren’t coaching?

I have interests in the sports I grew up playing but I really enjoy that all of my sports are now inside as I don’t like being cold.

Lisa Matheson
Lisa Matheson
Name: Lisa Matheson.

Volunteer role: Netball coach.

Time with Kavanagh College sport?

I have been a coach at Kavanagh College for a number of years.

I first began when I was a pupil at Kavanagh in year 10 coaching netball and basketball and carried on coaching until I left school. I then returned to coaching when I taught at Kavanagh and continued to coach when my daughter moved on to secondary school.

Why do you continue to lead teams of pupils?

Because I am passionate about sports and the sports that I coach. I can volunteer my services and help out and hopefully make a difference in their development and skill set.

What keeps you motivated?

The girls that I coach and the parents that surround them. They are such an amazing bunch of young ladies and I have had the privilege of coaching them for the past five years. They have taught me so much as a coach and hopefully I have given back in return. As a coach, whether you win or lose, it’s more about watching a team bond and grow together and have fun.

Why did you volunteer?

I’m very passionate about sport and as a teacher you are naturally drawn to helping others. Also I had an amazing netball coach when I was at school in my senior years. She was a wonderful role model and she really helped show me how coaches can be amazing mentors.

Tell us about your sporting background/journey

I have a huge interest in sports. I played netball, basketball, rugby and football in high school. My school didn’t have a softball team but that was my main sport, which I played at a high level for Otago and Southern Pride.

Do you have an interest in sports that you aren’t coaching?

Yes, I love the game of softball and when I have had the chance I like to get out and coach this amazing sport.

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