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Alumna in the News

The success of elite water polo player, Lily Dunn (2023), was celebrated in The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday 4 February. Her achievements both as an athlete on track for the Olympics and a recent HSC graduate, are also a testament to the work of the Wenona Sports Department, which balances support for elite athletes with a strong culture of “sport for all”.


The story of Alumna, Lily Dunn (2023), as featured in yesterday’s The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) underscores the significance of this approach for all students. Lily has been representing NSW in water polo since the age of 13. She is currently training for the Under 20 World Championships and is a member of the NSW Institute of Sport’s “Road to LA” program, with high hopes of a future Olympic career. Despite intensive daily sport training throughout her secondary schooling, she also achieved an ATAR of 92.7 in the 2023 HSC.

Lily’s success bears out recent groundbreaking research conducted by the University of Sydney, revealing that students who engage in sport throughout high school often witness a remarkable improvement in their academic performance. This correlation was observed in various aspects, including higher NAPLAN scores, increased school attendance, and a greater likelihood of university admission.

The study further supports the work being done by Wenona Director of Sport and Performance, Mr Tom Hill, who last year addressed parents on this very topic at a Wenona Parent Education Program workshop. He and his team encourage students to maintain their sporting commitments right through to Year 12 and provide more information to support this approach, on their Parent Education Resource Hub on the Wenona Portal. “The Sport Department works alongside all students, supporting their progress and helping them to develop a healthy and active lifestyle at Wenona – and beyond – in the knowledge that the skills they learn through active participation in sport will enable them to thrive professionally, socially and emotionally,” Mr Hill said.

Meanwhile, for students like Lily Dunn, who aspire to pursue their sport at the highest level, Wenona provides the necessary infrastructure, resources, and expertise to assist them on their journey. “The Sport Department collaborates closely with teachers, tutors, coaches, and parents, ensuring that students strike a harmonious balance between their training commitments, academic workload, and family life,” Mr Hill said.

Lily’s unwavering dedication to both her studies and her sport is proof of the harmonious balance that can be achieved through active sports participation. In the SMH article, she emphasises the importance of finding a commitment, no matter how big or small, to alleviate stress and anxiety during challenging times, such as the HSC. She encourages her peers to engage in any form of physical activity, whether it be joining a sports team or simply participating in a fitness class.

Wenona takes immense pride in having played a pivotal role in Lily's journey. It serves as an inspiration to all young people, to pursue their passions and excel both academically and athletically through to their final school exams and beyond.