Overnewton College captain Sarah White had dreams of playing netball for her state … but fate stepped in. This community-minded Delahey teenager explains to Ben Cameron how a devastating knee injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise
What are your memories growing up?
I grew up playing local netball – that was a pretty big thing for me. I played at Copperfield College in the local competitions, from grade 6 to about year 10.
Do you still play?
I actually injured myself in year 10 so I haven’t gone back yet … I had a knee reconstruction. I was running and I stopped to turn around, and my knee went.
That must have been a difficult time?
I was 15. It was pretty devastating getting told you can’t play your favourite sport again for the next 12 months minimum. So I guess at the time I was heartbroken. I tried to keep that passion I had for netball and still go to games and still be involved in my club. And then after that I found new passions and I was fortunate enough to be really busy with school and the [school] captaincy. So this year there was no room to be worried; I had of a lot other things going on that I was passionate, if not more passionate, about.
Could you call it a blessing in disguise?
Yeah, definitely it could. If I had been playing as much as I was at the time, I definitely wouldn’t have the time to be school captain.
You’ve won a scholarship to Bond University to study international relations and journalism. What’s the end goal?
I’d love to get a couple of internships overseas with some not-for-profit agencies. I’d love to be a foreign correspondent. I’d love to do a job where I could travel a lot. I love to learn about different cultures and different places, so if I could incorporate that into my life somehow …
As school captain, did you feel pressured to behave well at all times and lead by example?
Obviously there was an extra responsibility with being school captain in the sense of always being on show to your peers and the wider community. But I guess I never thought twice about the things I was doing. Everything I was doing was responsible and for the school. I’ve always been a bit too scared to be rebellious, it’s just how I’ve grown up, so I guess it was quite easy to remain a studious student.
Did it affect your social life?
Not really. I guess it’s about managing your time properly. I learnt pretty much from the start of the year you have to balance your free time. So maybe on a Saturday night I’d hang out with my friends and sometimes you’d have to leave a little bit earlier; it was the sacrifice I was willing to make.
How was growing up in Delahey unique?
There were a lot of opportunities growing up here, such as leadership and working with the community. I’ve been volunteering with students who are refugees and going to Sunshine Harvester Primary School. I tutor them and listen to them read. These kids are ecstatic to be in a country like Australia, which we perhaps take for granted. It showed me how privileged I actually was, and there was something I could do to help in even the smallest of ways. It was a lovely way to give back.