St Kilda are excited to be continuing their partnership with Monterey Secondary College heading into 2022.

Following its first in-take of students this year, the Saints are working closely with Monterey to further enhance the delivery of this unique high-performance program.

The program, which has been developed by St Kilda’s Academy and high-performance staff, offers young boys and girls a unique education and career pathway opportunity in sport and other industries.

Former Saint and current academy coach Trent Dennis-Lane explained how the program is helping to create an impact amongst students in the Frankston region.

Can you give us an insight into your role at Monterey and the purpose of establishing an elite sporting academy within the school?

In 2021 I was the head coach of Monterey Academy for the footy program.

We had 22 kids registered at the start, and the idea was to provide a snap-shot of what it is like to be in a high-performance environment. Along with a netball coach and using high performance as a way to build the students understanding of the industry, we wanted to enhance their confidence and ultimately, create career outcomes and pathways into the high-performance field.

What is the overall goal of the program?

While we want to produce talent out of this region and these schools, we are also committed to ensuring these kids feel a sense of belonging when they come here.

We want to integrate into the community and use this program as a way to ensure the kids that come through Monterey feel comfortable within the school and the wider community, all the while having the life skills when they finish up.

What is your aim personally as a coach?

The initial idea was purely development and seeing the potential that some of these kids have, and from there we could look to integrate them into our NGA pathway programs.

Their fundamental base skills were one factor, but we also wanted to introduce themes of life skills and intrinsic personal values and behaviours and drive home the message to be good people.

For a lot of young adults, that message can sometimes get lost so if we can use the vehicle of sport, I think we are able to weave in the message of those life skills alongside the footy ones.

What are some of the key objectives of the program?

We are looking to create an elite-sporting environment within the school, and obviously the values and life-skills that come with that.

We want Monterey to be a destination school within the region, and with the program, we’ll be able to introduce a high performance environment to the school.

As much as we are looking to develop athletes through the program, we want to use it as a way to drive our own core values and make a difference within the community.

We don’t want to just develop the physical skills of the students, but the ones used in everyday life too. We want Monterey known to be a place that develops the next generations of leaders within the community.

What facilities are available at Monterey?

The facilities are really impressive. They have built a new gym, and they have a great new strength and conditioning area. They’ve got a nice footy oval attached to the school grounds, too.

The bones for a good program are set and it’s now about continuing to put in the time and the effort. We know that it isn’t going to happen with a flick of a switch, it’s a long-term project that we’ll see improve and evolve over time.

Why is high performance important in sport?

High performance brings a values and belief system into a sporting environment, and it really helps establish that system from a young age if they are exposed to it.

Sport is really just a vehicle. It has ups and downs, like life, and usually the kids are passionate about sport, so it is a nice subtle way to teach the kids about the intrinsic values that they will need in life.

Learn more about the Monterey Academy here.