'Elite' students on the right track

ELITE: From left, Whyalla High School student Ashalea Perry, Kamaya Wyatt and Tashani Wyatt have been selected for the SAASTA Elite Academy.

ELITE: From left, Whyalla High School student Ashalea Perry, Kamaya Wyatt and Tashani Wyatt have been selected for the SAASTA Elite Academy.

Three students from Whyalla High School recently gained access to a special pathway after achieving positive results in the school's South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA) program.

Year 9 students Tashani Wyatt (netball) and Ashalea Perry (basketball) and Year 10 student Kamaya Wyatt (netball) have been selected for the Elite Academy within SAASTA after delivering stand-out performances in training.

The trio participated in netball and basketball trials in Adelaide where they impressed selectors and secured a pathway into the Elite Academy.

"Going down to Adelaide and playing with other girls was a really good experience," Kamaya said.

As part of the Elite Academy the students will travel overseas to compete in Scotland and New Zealand, playing for local clubs and gaining important experience.

"It will be our first time going overseas, we're looking forward to it," Tashani said.

SAASTA provides Aboriginal students in Year 10, 11 and 12 with a course that focuses on culture and sport and can lead to a variety of career pathways.

Program Teacher Jacob Ellidge said there were opportunities to pursue a career in sport or a trade on the students' desired pathway.

Last year Tyson Richman was chosen to travel to China and New Zealand to play footy through the SAASTA Elite program, however he also secured an apprenticeship and decided to follow that pathway.

"Ash could end up being an elite basketballer through the program but they still give you the opportunity to follow a career pathway, whatever that may be," he said.

"The netball girls might end up playing at an elite level in Australia or internationally depending on how well they go."

Mr Ellidge said it was great to watch the girls develop through the program.

"It's amazing, they had the confidence to go to Adelaide and make the decision to pack up from their life in Whyalla and go to the big city. That was a huge decision for them and their families," he said.

"But it's what they needed to do to get onto that Elite pathway."