Joanne bids farewell to Westfields Sports High

Joanne Kenny has taught some of Australia's biggest sporting exports in her nearly four decades at Westfields Sports High School.

Two people smiling in front of a wall of photos. Two people smiling in front of a wall of photos.
Image: Joanne Kenny with former Socceroo Harry Kewell.

When Joanne Kenny walks out the gates of Westfields Sports High for the final time today, it will end a nearly four-decade association with a school that has produced some of Australia’s most talented and best-known athletes.

And as the school’s sports director since 1998, Mrs Kenny has had no small role to play in that success.

Dozens of Mrs Kenny’s students have represented their country since the school was gazetted as a sports high school in 1992, and many more have represented their state or regions.

Harry Kewell, Aaron Mooy, Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja are among those Mrs Kenny has mentored and supported in her time at Westfields.

As sports director, she has helped them juggle the complex world of competitive sport, hours of training and the legal requirements for NSW students to attend school.

“My door is always open to them,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Ms Kenny started teaching at what was to become Westfields Sports High in 1984.

In her many years at the school, she has instructed new students in what she calls “Westfields Way”, in which they are expected to be disciplined not just in their chosen sport but also in the classroom.

Attendance has to be over 95 per cent and students must be making satisfactory progress in their schoolwork.

“Sports isn’t a right here, it is a privilege,” she told the Herald.

Principal Andrew Rogers said Kenny’s connection to the school and its community was remarkable.

“Any question, request, piece of information she knows it – she knows how to get stuff done. She knows who to ring, she has the contacts, she has the knowledge and the passion,” he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by her students.

“She is super understanding, she’s nice, but she can be a bit strict,” current year 12 student and budding hurdler Rashid Kabba said.

Mrs Kenny's story attracted wide media interest with the Sydney Morning Herald, Channel 9 and Channel 7 all publicising her remarkable achievements.

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