High School Alternatives: The Support Needed to Succeed

Discover how TAFE's own high school alternative enabled one go getter to race to the top of her sport.

18 Jan 2017

“With an emphasis on children specializing in one sport, year-round, the stress of doing well in a sport can easily override the necessity to do well in school. But this does not have to be the case for student athletes.” Jeanne Goodes, coach.

Let’s take about high school alternatives and acheving more during and after schooling.

high school alternatives sporting greatness
With the help of supportive learning options students could achieve greatness., passions and study can make all the difference in the years to come.

A healthy work-life balance is essential to making great happen for yourself. You need to focus on yourself and what it takes to do and be more. Even in high school, being able to balance work

As highlighted by veteran teacher and sports coach Jeanne Goodes, this applies especially to any student seeking success in sports, with training and competition often competing for your time.

What makes the difference for future sporting greats, or even those students making waves in areas such as the arts, is their support network. Whether it is teachers, family or friends, these people can aid you in keeping on track –they are your community, your fuel. After all, a community is defined by its focus on a common goal, even if said goal is the success of a single individual.

There are a range of options out there to ensure that this support is there, whether it is offered by community groups, or via high school alternatives such as Senior Studies at TAFE.

The proof of what can be achieved with the right passion and support is the one and only Edan Whitlock – a fiery teenage with dreams of sporting glory. Her tale shows that with a community behind you making great is possible, whatever the dream.

Achieving an Extreme Dream

Edan Whitlock is a name to remember.

The rising BMX star, who hit the track for the first time four years ago, has already made waves in the extreme sport, receiving national recognition and competing on the international circuit.

Now, with the recent addition of BMX events in the Olympics, she has her sights firmly set on London in 2020.

“I had a lot of hobbies growing up,” Edan said.

“I did cheerleading for a year, gymnastics for seven years. I did tennis, I’ve done a wide variety of sports, but as soon as I got to BMX I was like, yeah this is my type of sport.”

And it shows.

The 16-year-old has won the State Titles, nabbed another 1st in an A Pro Women’s event and most recently placed second in Australia for her age group.

“I did my first world titles in 2013. I crashed in the last part and ended up in hospital,” she said.

“That same month I’d knocked myself out in the South Queensland titles. I’ve crashed and gone to hospital a few times but I guess if you love it, you just stay with it.”

Edan, who enrolled in one of the state’s most established high school alternatives, TAFE Queensland Brisbane’s Senior Studies program, in 2016 so she could complete grades 11 and 12. This allow her to work around her busy training schedule, and she has said she doesn’t plan on going anywhere until graduation day.

“I really like my classes. I’ve gone from Cs and Ds to As and Bs. All the kids there are more mature and the teachers help you a lot more,” she said.

“They really care about your education.”

But between studying, coaching beginners and training, Edan has started to fill her trophy cabinet with the hopes of receiving a scholarship and eventually moving to the United States to pursue her sport with the world’s top athletes before heading to the Olympics.

“I’ll be saving as much money as I can for Super Cross rounds. They’re all over the world,” she said.

“That’s the sort of event where you’re coming down 8m start hill and there’s the 15m jump then hitting a huge jump, and you can’t see the bottom. It’s a bit frightening.

“I’ve done the 8m start hill many times. When you hit it you just feel free and accomplished that you’ve done what you’ve been aiming to do. That’s what I really love about BMX. It’s the freedom.”

Find out more about high school alternatives and doing Year 11 and 12 differently at tafebrisbane.edu.au.

© TAFE Queensland Brisbane 2018.
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