Living the highland life
All set for highland fling
Ailiana Clarkson, a six-year-old dancer, is getting ready to dance her way to the Highland Gathering and Perth Kilt Run Competition.
A SPORTS teacher at John Curtin College of the Arts has kicked a goal for female footy, recognised for running the Most Outstanding Female AFL Program at the AFL School Ambassador Awards.
Physical education, health and outdoor teacher Robert Venn said many factors had inspired him to create an AFL program for girls.
“Most importantly it was the girls wanting to play after seeing the AFLW,” he said.
“The conversations that were being had by all students, not just female, in the playground were fantastic,” he said.
“Having an ex-student in Sabrina Frederick-Traub (playing for the Brisbane Lions) also helped.
“The girls wanted to play, they just needed the opportunity.”
Mr Venn said once the girls started they couldn’t be stopped.
“Right now we have been involved in our second year of competition,” he said.
“This has seen the Fremantle Dockers come into the school to coach both girls and boys in the football teams.
“The interest that the girls have has overflowed to the boys and this year was the first time in 14-15 years that we have also entered a boys team into a home and away season that’s set up by the West Australian Football Commission.”
Currently the program is run for years 7, 8 and 9 but Mr Venn hopes to expand it to the upper school.
Mr Venn said he has seen quiet and shy girls become more confident.
“I’ve seen girls show more leadership and take more opportunities within the school,” he said.
“The knowledge of the sport has grown, and some of the girls have noticed relationships with others in family circles have improved because they have something more in common.” AILIANA Clarkson is putting on her dancing shoes as she prepares to compete in the Armadale Highland Gathering and Perth Kilt Run on September 9 at Minnawarra Park.
The six-year-old Highland dancer from Attadale has been dancing since she was four years old .
Ailiana said she was excited to dance at the competition.
“I like dancing with my friends and the music is fun,” she said.
“I want to continue dancing, like my mum, but she is in a different grade to me.”
Tom Clarkson said his daughter performed many times during the year.
“They do concerts, do a range of competitions, concerts for retirements villages and community events,” he said. “It is a beautiful thing to watch.”
A full kit of kilt: Ailiana Clarkson of Attadale will be dancing at the Armadale Highland Gathering next month.