Getting to Know… Sahara

Where are you from?

I’m from Shark Bay, which is 926km North of Perth on the coast. It’s a pretty little ocean town. I lived in Perth until I was six and then moved up north to be closer to my mother.

What do your family up there?

They own the net fishing industry, which is quite a traditional way of fishing. We normally catch mullet, whiting, tailor, brim, and sometimes oysters and mussels.

Have you got siblings?

I do. I have an older brother, Chase, who graduated from Wesley last year, and a younger brother, Sage, who is at Wesley in Year 8.

What are you going to do on the holidays?

Mum’s bringing the boat in and we’re going to go on a free-diving trip. I have a pet shark, so I’ll go diving with her.

You have a pet shark?!

Lena – she’s a four-metre tiger shark. She’ll come to the boat and we’ll feed her and she kind of just hangs around us.

That’s a pretty big shark. You’re not scared that she’s going to attack you?

No. I’ve grown up with her. Originally we took her in when we worked at the aquarium as kids, and we’d used to swim with her to make sure she was okay, because she was attacked by a larger shark. After she got released from the aquarium she just decided to keep hanging out with us.

That’s really sweet, but also terrifying. So you actually swim with her?

Yeah. I know that tiger sharks are dangerous animals, but because I’ve grown up with them in a different environment, I don’t see them that way. Of course, if I saw a great white in the water, I’d probably get out, but if it’s a reef shark or something like that I’ll just let it chill.

What do you like about boarding?

Because I only have brothers and I was the only girl in my Year group back home, I love having my boarding sisters around me. I love the routine of the boarding house and how there’s a set time for everything. The staff become like your other mothers – they’re just there and they always help you out. I also just really like the environment and atmosphere of the Boarding House.

You’re very sporty. What are your favourite sports?

I’m a sprinter, so I love athletics, and I also play footy. I’m hoping to play AFLW after I win the Olympics – that’s the dream.

In sprinting?

Yeah – so the dream is to be a gold medalist at the 2028 Olympics in either 100 metres, 200 metres or long jump. Then come back and play AFLW for Freo.

Could this dream potentially become a reality?

Yes, I think so. I competed at Nationals for the first time last year and made a final, so that’s pretty big. Right now, I’m going to focus on Year 12 and getting my ATAR and not worry too much about training. Once I finish school, I’ll be back to training twice a day.

How long you’ve been playing footy for?

I grew up playing Auskick. My Dad used to coach in Perth, so I’d play in the boys teams as the only girls. Then when AFLW started I was really excited. I’ve been playing for the School for just over a year, and then I’m going to go into the league side of things once I’m finished with school.

Do you think girls can play football just as well as men?

I think girls are tough; in some ways, girls’ schools are a lot harder than boys’ schools. I think girls can be as tough as boys, just in a different way. Generally, yes, footy is a boys’ sport, but I love it, and so do a lot of girls.

Who do you play for outside School?

I play for East Fremantle. My grandfather played for them in the WAAFL for about ten years, and my brother also plays for them now. It’s a bit of a family thing, I guess!

Who inspires you in the world of sport?

In athletics, Cathy Freeman is probably my biggest inspiration because she’s Aboriginal and I’m Aboriginal. She followed her passion and didn’t let discrimination bring her down. Watching her win Gold at the Sydney Olympics, in front of a home crowd, was pretty iconic. She’s definitely someone I’d love to meet.

In the footy world, I’d have to say Eddie Betts and Adam Goodes would probably be my biggest inspirations.

Do you identify with your Aboriginal culture?

When I first started at PLC, I was very open and proud of my aboriginality, because mum brought my brothers and I up that way. A couple of years into Senior School, I tried to move away from it a little bit, and it’s really only in the last six months or so that I’ve really embraced my culture again. I’m really lucky to be working for Athletics WA in the Indigenous Promotion and Development Programme, where I get to go out and scout Indigenous sporting talent, and it’s really reinforced to me how proud I am of my Aboriginal culture.

Where is country for you?

I’m a Malgana person, from Yamatji Country, which is the Gascoyne region.

To me, though, country is a place where you feel safe, no matter what. It’s somewhere your family can come together and share bonds that you’ll never have with anyone else.

When I go home, when I’m on country and I’m with all my family, I just smile and feel at ease. It’s very different to anything else. At the end of the day, country we always mean a lot to me.

You’re the 2020 Boarding House Sports Prefect. Have you got any ideas about what you want to do with the role next year?

I’ve already set up a fitness programme that I run on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays. We do a run to Cottesloe, or a pool session, or a circuit in the gym, cardio at Cottesloe oval. Anyone in the boarding community can do it – any boarder, any staff, any age, any fitness level.

Something that I’d really like to get up and running next year is a round robin netball competition with some of the other school boarding houses.

Top four celebrity dinner guests?
  • Cathy Freeman, definitely.
  • Eddie Betts, because he’s funny and relatable and I think he’d be great value at a dinner party.
  • Carl Barron, also because he’s funny and I think he and Eddie would get on really well.
  • Brooke Stratton – she’s the Australian record-holder for long jump and I think she’s pretty cool and she’s also a very big inspiration for me.
How do you look after your own wellbeing?

Because I’m very sporty, and sport releases endorphins and that gives you a positive mind, I’ve sort of just always done that. I also meditate for about 10-20 minutes before bed. Sometimes I’ll just do a breathing exercise myself and other times I’ll put on something from the smiling mind App, and I think yoga is a really good way to relax and unwind.

Why is looking after your wellbeing so important?

Well to me and looking after our well-being is so important because it allows you to take a breath and look at things in the bigger picture. It gives you some perspective and a little bit of objectivity – rather than just looking at things from your point of view, I think it helps you to be less selfish and self-absorbed and allows you to see where other people are coming from.

What do you like about being a Lighthouse Assistant?

When I have a morning shift, I love seeing all the girls come in early to do a workout before school. I love greeting people and having a chat, because I feel like when someone smiles at me, it makes my day. So, I like to make people smile too.

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