Humans of St John’s
Welcome to the latest edition of Humans of St John’s featuring our Sports and Specialised Activities Manager, Anthony Hillier as he shares with us his journey from playing and coaching sport internationally to enhancing sporting pathways here at St John’s.
I grew up in the NSW country town of Cootamundra, famous as the birthplace of Don Bradman and the Cootamundra wattle, about 4 hours south-west of Sydney and approximately 2 hours west of Canberra.
I wasn’t much of an athlete during my primary school years, despite a love of sports and high hopes of making it into a representative team. Things changed when I commenced high school, I competed in Rugby League, Hockey, Soccer, Futsal, Athletics, Cross Country and Volleyball. I succeeded in becoming school Athletics Champion, Cross Country Champion and in Year 12, was named School Sportsperson of the Year.
During high school, I was fortunate to travel throughout NSW and interstate for various sporting pursuits which included winning the district trials in Athletics and Cross Country, and the regional Cross Country Championships at the age of 16. I competed at the NSW Combined High Schools State Championships in Cross Country, Athletics and Soccer, and also had the opportunity to compete in Futsal and Cycling at the State Championship level.
As a member of the under 17 Australian Futsal team, I travelled to Argentina and Uruguay to compete against their national teams. At a young age, I developed a passion for coaching. This passion combined with the positive influence of my high school PE teacher which left a mark on me, lead me to a career in education.
Before working at St John’s, I visited the campus on many occasions as a coaching member for another TAS school. I had heard many great things about the College, it’s great reputation as a school, involvement in the TAS program and opportunities for professional development, so I grabbed at the opportunity when it arose, commencing at St John’s in Term Three of 2020.
I bring a positive vision and leadership to the role of Sports and Specialised Activities (SASA) Manager here at St John’s through my extensive experience as a teacher as well as an elite sport and talent identification coach. In 2019 I finished a Master of Professional Studies (research) focussed on identifying the key character strengths of top academic students and high performing sports students and how these strengths may be developed in other students.
In my previous working life, I was employed by the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) as a high-performance coach, worked with the Australian Sports Commission through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) as a talent identification coach, and coached the Australian Cycling Team at the Youth Olympics.
Like St John’s, I am a strong believer in a holistic education across academics, co-curricular and student wellbeing. I have always been interested in the role wellbeing plays in a person’s success and have had the opportunity to present at other schools both locally and internationally. My Year 8 pastoral program has been published in an international journal.
I would like to see St John’s sports program grow to become one of the best in the TAS competition. I understand this is a big challenge and certainly a long-term goal but I believe this can be achieved with the support of the staff, students, parents and the St John’s wider community.
With the Football Academy and newly launched Hockey Academy now running, I am now looking at future sports programs that provide further opportunities and pathways for our talented students. The new RISE sporting scholarship program is one that I’m currently focussed on to provide sporting opportunities for students through structured mentoring and support programs. Students face many stresses throughout adolescence and they must have the necessary support to reach their full potential. I am interested in not just a student’s success on the sporting field but their holistic development as a person and positive member of society.