By Racheal Willett
After recently hiking 96kms of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, Yarrawonga College P-12 Campus Principal Jo McCarthy is confident a 200 metre run with the Queen’s Baton in the Commonwealth Games relay next February will be a breeze.
Being chosen to run with the baton was, according to Jo, “a lovely surprise”.
“Strangely enough I had been working with the relay organisers with regard to the event because they are going to utilise some of the school facilities when the relay is here in February,” Jo said.
“I had to keep that very quiet and then when I found out I had been nominated to carry the baton that was another secret to keep.”
Jo was nominated in recognition of her many years of contribution to local sport, particularly through the Mulwala Football Netball Club and the Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club.
She has been a netball coach, player and committee member with Mulwala since 2001 and was instrumental in a $200,000 fundraising drive to install new netball courts at Lonsdale Reserve in 2015.
Her efforts were recognised with induction as a MFNC Life Member and she was named Netball Victoria Volunteer of the Year in 2015.
Jo also volunteers many hours in organisation of the Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club Easter Tennis Tournament, a hugely successful annual event with hundreds of entries each year.
“It’s nice to be recognised for doing something that I genuinely enjoy,” she said.
“Sport and being active is something I’m passionate about and I like being involved in clubs and events that engage young people in healthy activity.”
Jo has been a teacher at Yarrawonga College P-12 for 19 years and is principal of the 9-12 senior campus.
She has enjoyed watching the growth and change at the school over the past two decades, from a very traditional, disciplinarian model to a more restorative approach with a strong focus on student leadership.
It was Jo’s commitment to the student leadership program fostered by Yarrawonga College P-12 that prompted her to join the 2017 Kokoda Track team – with ten students and another staff member – to tackle the Papua New Guinea trek.
Her training in the lead up to the trek will stand her in good stead for her relay run.
She shared the exciting news of her selection as a Commonwealth Games Batonbearer with husband Damien, son Harley, 19 and daughter Jordy, 17.
Approximately 3800 Australians will carry the Queen’s Baton on its 100-day journey across the nation in the lead up to the games, with the torch to visit Yarrawonga on February 15, 2018.