Talented netball player Lauren Packer has her sights set on playing for Australia, if the sport is played on the world stage at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games.
The fifteen-year-old defender is shooting towards her goal through the help of a signature program at St Margaret’s that allows her to successfully balance the pursuit of her passion with all other aspects of her education.
The boarding student, who hails from her family’s farming property outside Roma, has an intensive training schedule, but the school’s Flyers Program provides support to promising athletes to assist them in reaching their greatest potential.
“I train five or six nights a week which means I miss prep time in the boarding house when we usually study. The Flyers Program gives me time during the school day to get my work done and also reset and plan what I need to do,” Lauren said.
Lauren started playing netball when she was six, and aside from playing club netball for St Margaret’s, she also plays for the Downey Park Netball Association and the Cougar Cats Program, a pathway for developing netballers.
Earlier this year, she played in the QISSN (Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball) Championships, touted the best netball competition in the country.
“I am aiming for selection in the Sapphire and Ruby teams for the North Brisbane Cougars, which would be an achievement in itself, with the overall goal of being selected for the Queensland Firebirds,” Lauren said.
While her training schedule is intense, Lauren benefits from having state of the art netball facilities right on her doorstep.
“The new sports precinct is amazing. I’ve had some Cougars training sessions here and we’ve even had the Firebirds train here, which was great for myself and my teammates to observe,” Lauren said.
The country girl who loves nothing more than returning home during the school holidays and embracing the wide-open spaces along with her siblings says St Margaret’s feels like home too.
“Home is really here now – it’s a big sleepover with all of your best friends,” Lauren said.
She also says that attending school in the city has broadened her horizons and helped her develop many life skills.
“I didn’t know much about Brisbane before I arrived, but I’ve loved exploring the city, there’s so much to see and do. I’ve even had the opportunity to play netball at Nissan Arena, where the Firebirds play, which was a real boost.
“I just never get tired of the view from school either. Overlooking the Brisbane River and city – it’s amazing and so different to home.
“At boarding school, you develop so many life skills including responsibility, and I’ve really enjoyed setting an example for both myself but also for my boarding sisters, too,” Lauren said.
Lauren says it’s the warm and welcoming community at St Margaret’s that has helped make her boarding school experience so far.
“I’ve met so many people, each from different backgrounds. The housemothers are amazing women too – I just love them. I’m also really touched by how concerned the day parents are for boarders. They are always checking in, offering to take us out for leave, providing transport or dropping off treats.
“They’ve been so supportive of my netball training too, with many of my teammate’s parents swinging by to pick me up and drive me to training. They have a roster to help out,” Lauren said.
As for the future, Lauren plans to continue playing representative netball with her sights set on the Olympics.
Learn more about the Flyers Program.