At ACG Strathallan, our holistic approach to education ensures students develop as well-rounded, confident individuals with a wide range of abilities. We are incredibly proud of the diverse activities, accolades and triumphs our students attain across all year levels as they make the most of every opportunity.
Students like Ethan Foo exemplify our 'reach for the stars' ethos and whole-child education philosophy. Since joining ACG Strathallan in 2017, Ethan has certainly made a name for himself at the school. Not only is the Year 12 multitasker a gifted athlete, top scholar and student leader, but he recently volunteered to train and coach the Boys Football team for the New Zealand AIMS Games.
As coach of the energetic Years 7 and 8 boys attending the Games in Tauranga, Ethan was responsible for both the players' on-field performance and their off-field behaviour. And as the event drew to a close, he received glowing reports on his conduct from parents and organisers alike.
They were impressed with his understanding of the needs and personalities of each team member and his compassion and empathy during injuries and moments of hardship. Plus, he was widely applauded for the maturity with which he handled "confronting side-line feedback", maintaining a measured and calm demeanour to defuse any friction.
"I have always wanted to coach," confirms Ethan. "And although I hadn't taken on a team before, I have previously held occasional coaching sessions. So I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity, and I am very thankful to have been given a chance to do it."
"Taking this team to the Games was a great experience, and having such an amazing group of kids that always pushed themselves to win was fantastic. Although there were times when we didn't get the results we wanted, we learnt that celebrating the little victories was the best way to keep positive and motivated. I would also like to give credit to the team captain Alex Young (Year 8), who was encouraging, focused and showed exceptional leadership throughout the week."
A talented footballer himself, Ethan has been the captain of the Strathallan First XI Boys Football team for the past two seasons. This experience has undoubtedly helped him further develop his growing leadership skills.
"Being captain allows me to guide the younger players into the team and give them advice throughout the season," says the high-achieving 17-year-old. "I really enjoy that aspect as I feel it helps the younger players become more comfortable and confident."
But it's not just on the sports pitch where Ethan takes the lead. He is also a Year 12 Prefect who believes it is essential for students to be involved in leadership initiatives across the entire campus.
"Being part of a leadership team allows people to give back to the school and their community. You become a role model for younger students and help set the school's atmosphere. To be involved in creating a culture where students are happy and excited to come to Strath is a huge privilege."
In this vein, this year Ethan and his fellow Sports Prefects have implemented a schedule of lunchtime social sports competitions where everyone is welcome to participate.
"We believe that each day is about more than just academics. It's about making friends and interacting with new people, which these activities offer. So we have now introduced games every Friday lunchtime and feel it has had a massive positive impact on the school."
While his sporting and prefect roles play a big part in his life, Ethan is determined to ensure his studies are his top priority. Although he does admit that without effective time management and organisation, it can be challenging to juggle his many extracurricular commitments with his schoolwork.
"It’s really important to take advantage of being at an exceptional school like Strathallan, that specialises in academics, and learning must come first," he agrees.
As for what the future holds, Ethan is pragmatically keeping his options open.
"I am considering a career in engineering as I really enjoy subjects like maths, physics and design. But my perfect job is to be a professional football player - a dream I am still actively pursuing.