TEACHER′S GRADE A RE­PORT

FOS­TER­ING LEAD­ER­SHIP ON AND OFF THE COURT

Life & Style Weekend - - LIGHTNING - WORDS: AN­NIE CAUGHEY

When Jacqui Russell’s not school­ing op­po­nents out on the net­ball court, she’s in the class­room teach­ing the young minds of Queens­land.

As a qual­i­fied high school teacher, Jacqui is pas­sion­ate about help­ing stu­dents achieve their best both aca­dem­i­cally and out on the sport­ing field.

It’s a ca­reer she says is not only in­ter­ac­tive and peo­ple fo­cused but also in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing.

Plus, the 30-year-old gets to throw around a net­ball or two, so how bad could it be?

Jacqui teaches at Cavendish Road State High School, who work around her de­mand­ing train­ing sched­ule, giv­ing her time off dur­ing the Suncorp Su­per Net­ball Sea­son to fo­cus on her sport­ing ca­reer.

The school has a rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence in sports it­self, hav­ing its own Net­ball Academy, in which Jacqui is the direc­tor of.

Year 7 to 10 stu­dents ac­cepted into the net­ball ex­cel­lence pro­gram can study the sport as a sub­ject in­stead of a reg­u­lar P.E unit.

As a pro­fes­sional net­baller, Jacqui men­tors these stu­dents and passes on knowl­edge to help them learn what it takes to make it as an ath­lete play­ing at an elite level.

“They’ve also got a Foot­ball Academy and a Touch Foot­ball Academy and there are some re­ally high-qual­ity teach­ers in there,” Jacqui said.

“For ex­am­ple, the Foot­ball Academy teacher has lit­er­ally just been over at the World Cup on the coach­ing staff for the Matil­das. These girls have ac­cess to re­ally high-qual­ity coach­ing and re­ally valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence at such a young age, and I think that’s a pretty big ben­e­fit for them.”

How­ever, dur­ing the net­ball sea­son Jacqui calls the beau­ti­ful Sun­shine Coast home, re­sid­ing in Cur­rimundi with her two house­mates Maddy and Bec.

The house is a so­cial one that al­ways has vis­i­tors swing­ing in and out, how­ever, they might not be the type of vis­i­tors you’d ex­pect.

The three girls par­tic­i­pate in the Safe Haven An­i­mal Res­cue Fos­ter­ing Pro­gram. Where they look af­ter pup­pies and dogs who need a tem­po­rary home from any­where be­tween a few days to a cou­ple of months.

“It started through my house­mate Bec, who’s study­ing to be a vet nurse, so she’s re­ally into an­i­mal care and an­i­mal wel­fare,” Jacqui said.

“We look af­ter any adorable pup­pies or dogs that need a home for a lit­tle while, we’ve ac­tu­ally got one com­ing this week­end called Hatch.”

One of Jacqui’s favourite fos­ters was a gor­geous great dane puppy named Ge­orge, who she says had her heart from day one.

“He was so cute, he was hon­estly such a sweet­heart,” she said.

“I re­ally wanted to keep him, but I thought it prob­a­bly doesn’t re­ally fit in with my life plans, hav­ing a huge great dane. I want to buy a lit­tle one- or two-bed­room apart­ment some­time soon and the dog wouldn’t even fit in there,” Jacqui joked.

In Aus­tralia, around 130,000 healthy dogs are eu­thanised each year largely due to a lack of re­sources and sup­port needed to re-home them.

Jacqui said her house­hold loves be­ing able to do their part to help a prob­lem that many Aus­tralian’s are un­aware is so big.

“I think I never re­ally re­alised un­til I started fol­low­ing Safe Haven on Face­book and In­sta­gram just how many dogs and cats need hom­ing and care. It’s con­stant, ev­ery sin­gle day there are new an­i­mals that need to be fos­tered and re-homed,” Jacqui said.

“So, if we can just help even a lit­tle bit be­cause we have the space and the abil­ity to do so, at least we are chip­ping in.”

Photo: PA­TRICK WOODS

help­ing hand: JACQUI WITH a STU­DENT at a LIGHT­NING SCHOOL Hol­i­day CLINIC at caloun­dra IN­DOOR sta­dium.

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