* For Pymble girls only. Kiri Mitchell is again an incredible force of nature. She stayed on 14 units throughout Year 11 and is now the Sustainability Prefect (she also plays 5 sports!). This conversation was originally conducted between Kiri and Jess Croudace of Year 9.

What were your 14 units and which did you drop for this year?

Ext Maths (3U), Ext English (3U), Physics (2U), Chemistry (2U), Earth and Environmental (2U), Modern History (2U)
I now do 13 units, having dropped 1 unit of English.

What are the 5 sports you do and which is your favourite?

Athletics, Taekwondo, Soccer, Netball, Surfing- (I also do choir and play the piano)
Favourite: I love them all!! (but probably surfing)

What motivates you to put time into all your commitments?

I just love everything I do – that’s all the motivation I need.

Favourite subject?

Modern History because:
• It teaches me so much about the world of the past and helps me to understand the world of the present
• It teaches me to be critical
• I have a fun class and an interesting and passionate teacher (Mr McKinlay) so it’s never boring.

Who's your role model + why?

My role model is Cathy Freeman because she had a clear goal and went for it, despite opposition. I not only admire her discipline as an athlete but also how she was proud of who she was and never let what other people thought get in the way of her dream.
Like her, I try to be who I am and stand out from the crowd. You can make more of an impact that way.

What first went through your head when you found out that you were Sustainability Prefect + Taekwondo Captain?

I was really excited because I am really passionate about both. It was also a bit overwhelming because I knew I was going to have a lot on my plate this year but I’m fine with being busy as long as I love what I’m doing.

What's the biggest challenge you've faced?

At the end of Year 9 I had a major spinal surgery and had to give up all my sport for a year and my favourite sport, Artistic Gymnastics, forever. Afterwards I contracted a serious infection which relapsed throughout the year. All up I was in hospital about a month.

That must have been horrible! How did you overcome it?

Once I was well enough, I did a lot of strength and swimming. My rehab time really helped me appreciate everything I could do before, even things like being able to walk, eat, or bend over 90 degrees. Even though I couldn’t do some things, I didn’t let myself slack off in things I could still do such as exercise and school work.

Kiri you're a true inspiration... Also, how do you manage your time so well?

Because I often have a short amount of time to get everything done, and because I love all my activities, I don’t have time for procrastination so I just get on with whatever I need to do.
Also, I love my diary!!!! It is so useful, I write everything in it and it really helps me to get an idea of how much work I need to do.

What's your way of dealing with stress?

Most of the time, I don’t have time to be stressed! But when I do get overwhelmed, I know I need to change something, whether it’s listening to relaxing celtic music while doing my maths homework (sounds strange but it’s actually so good) or jumping into the pool. I don’t like to stay stressed for too long- it distracts me from my work!

What sport would you encourage everyone to try?

Soccer is a great option as it caters for a whole range of skill levels- you aren’t immediately thrown in the deep end. A team sport is a great way to make friends, associate with different people and boost your own self confidence, especially if you’re good at it.
As Taekwondo Captain, I feel it’s my duty to promote TKD as well! It is really fulfilling to move up the belts and self defence is a great skill to have for girls our age.

What's something you really want to tell the whole school about sustainability?

Don’t think it’s not your business – it definitely is. Don’t think you’re too cool to be sustainable – sustainability is way cooler than you. And don’t leave switches on when you’re not using them – it bugs me.

Ahaha thanks for that! Let's end with a random story about you :)

When I was little I loved to sing. My favourite song was the never-ending version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. My older sister, still bitter about me replacing her status as youngest child and for some reason not a fan of the song, kept telling me to shut up. After that time, I gradually began to dislike singing. I steered clear of it, even to the rebellious extent of mouthing the words of the songs in Assembly. I didn’t listen to music either. And then came Year 11, when I realised how short my time left at school really was and so I impulsively joined school choir and got the opportunity to sing in the Opera House. I continue today to enjoy school choir.
The moral of the story: try something crazy and you might discover something new about yourself.

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