The program helps students with physical development, increasing motivation, gaining a sense of responsibility and instilling self-confidence. Students who participate in multiple sports exhibit better decision making, recognition of patterns and increased creativity in all pursuits. (O’Sullivan, 2017).
The program’s major sponsor is the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), that provides students with guest speakers who are enrolled in the High Performance Student Athlete program (HPSA). USC also opens its doors to allow SDP students to access their multi-million dollar facilities, such as their Biomechanics labs, and creates post-school opportunities for students with a direct pathway into the HPSA. Familiarising students with the university develops confidence in their own abilities, whilst having Olympians address the young athletes is nothing short of inspiring.
The SDP’s entry requirements include a written application, physical challenge and formal interview for students who are also going from Year 6 to Year 7. The process allows Tamika to form bonds during this transition with the children and their families. Throughout the program she monitors their overall academic progress as well as their sporting achievements. A minimum requirement is set for students to obtain A/B in effort and behaviour across all classes.
Students nominate sports of interest and in the first year of implementation Tamika developed 20 community partnerships with amongst others Maroochydore Dragon Boating, World Gym, Mooloolaba Bowls Club, Rock It Climbing Gym, Ballinger Hockey, Maroochy River Golf Course, Maroochydore Squash, Badminton Queensland, Swim Fit Cotton Tree and Suncoast Spinners. Students also experience relevant classroom learning, such as the ‘All in for the Win’ unit where students study disability and equal access to sport, spending time playing wheelchair basketball and volunteering with Special Olympics Basketball team.
She runs weekend training sessions in her own time to ensure students are prepared and to involve parents. Many nights have been spent designing uniforms, meeting with the school’s Parents and Citizens (P&C) and advertising the program. She also works with the core teachers of the SDP to develop Individual Curriculum Plans (ICPs).
Tamika also runs the annual school Snow Trip to Perisher, is the Chairman of the Local Chaplaincy Committee, a member of the Indigenous Leader Team Committee and conducts the ‘Sleep on a Cardboard Box Night’ fundraiser to help with youth homelessness. Tamika, in partnership with the school’s guidance team, is also in the process of launching the LGBTQ+ group to support students within her school.
Tamika recently graduated with a Master of Education, majoring in Leadership and Management, is a member of the school’s Curriculum Review and Positive Behaviour for Learning teams, and is also a Professional Learning Community Coach leading HPE curriculum development at Maroochydore SHS.
“Tamika is consistently giving up her own time to support her students, provide them with exceptional opportunities, and to provide community links that build character and student confidence not only within sport, but within their spirit,” as stated in the nomination form.
Congratulations Tamika on your nomination.