en-us Inspired by Yarra

Stephanie Puopolo

YOG 2009

Netballer and Learning & Development Specialist

"Being at Yarra ignited a spark for me – I wanted to be at school, which was exciting. I became a new student when I came here.”

Netball is in Stephanie Puopolo's DNA - her mum has been a respected netball coach since Steph was born and so it was only natural that Steph became an elite level netballer.

When she joined Yarra in Year 9, she brought her sporting talent with her.

“I was heavily involved in sport at School and often kicked the footy on the oval with the boys at lunchtime. Being part of a team is a quick way to make friends and you learn so much. You learn to work with a variety of personalities and learn about leadership and how to get the best out of different people,” she says.

Soon after joining Yarra, sports teacher Mary Carroll took Steph aside and became her personal volleyball coach. Steph eventually became part of Yarra’s first volleyball team, too.

Coming to Yarra marked an important transformation in Steph’s high school experience. Earlier high school years were unhappy and she’d lost motivation to study and work. She rediscovered that at Yarra.

“I never wanted to miss a day of school and I got all my work in on time. I couldn’t let the ball drop here and I put as much into my schooling as I did my sport,” she says.

Steph navigated academic studies with a punishing training routine that saw her chosen as captain of Australia’s 21 and under netball team when she was only 19. She also played state league in Victoria and for the past couple of years, since retiring from elite competition, Steph has played in country Victoria and been an assistant coach with Monbulk Football Netball Club.

She has forged a career in the corporate world after studying PR and journalism at university. She works in the area of learning and development at Mazda Australia.

“I loved Business Management but in Year 12, English became my favourite subject because of my teacher at the time. Yarra finds a way to bring out the best in everyone because there is a place there for everyone.”

Steph will get married later in 2020 and hopes to start a family and continue her professional development. She clearly recalls the School motto and its importance.

“It makes me think about goalsetting, staying open to new challenges and opportunities and looking ahead to where I want to be in five years. You have to open your eyes to what is in front of you.”


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