Ash Barty returned to her school days to lead a book-reading event as part of the Festival of Learning in Springfield on September 6.
The tennis champion read one of her “Little Ash” books to Prep to Year 2 students at Springfield Central State School.
The event was live-streamed for students of similar age across all 11 Greater Springfield Learning Coalition (GSLC) schools, as part of the Festival of Learning, which ran September 1-8.
This festival is a Springfield City Group (SCG) initiative that encourages creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship among students across the fields of arts and culture, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), sports, sustainability, and music.
Running in alternate years, it is the third Festival of Learning since 2019.
This year, events included literacy exercises, music showcases, a maths competition, and outdoor tours of sporting, health, and engineering facilities.
Ash Barty was a student at Woodcrest State College when she began her remarkable tennis career, which went on to include victories at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, and achieving the world number one ranking.
She is now retired and enjoying her first months as a mum.
“I have always loved reading. My Mum and Dad instilled a love of reading in my sisters and I when we were very young and it is a passion that has stayed with me,” Ms Barty said.
“My niece Lucy was my inspiration for the “Little Ash” series, so being able to read together at Lucy’s school was special. I loved meeting her classmates and taking questions from so many different schools in the Springfield community.
“I’ve always wanted to contribute to children’s education and the “Little Ash” books have been a wonderful step in that direction. I am really looking forward to creating more books for kids and encouraging young people to enjoy reading.”
The Greater Springfield Learning Coalition is a unique partnership between the city’s principals (from both state and private sectors) and SCG, who together discuss ways to improve and innovate teaching and learning.
Festival founder and chair Dr Richard Eden, who also serves as SCG Executive General Manager – Education and Smart City, called Ms Barty a “wonderful ambassador”.
“We thank Ash for reading to so many young people today, showing them a love of reading and learning,” Dr Eden said.
“We are delighted that she was able to join the 2023 Festival of Learning.”
Dr Eden said the Coalition was strengthening collaboration between Springfield’s schools, as exemplified by the week’s events.
“This year’s Festival of Learning features innovation across so many fields… We want to provide opportunities for students whatever their interests.”
Springfield City Group Chairman Maha Sinnathamby AM said the city would always promote the value of learning.
“Springfield City is truly committed to fostering the brainpower that can fuel the future of Australia in this era of innovation,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
“Education is the currency of the future. Education is the only currency that you can cash in anywhere in the world. And it is the only currency that can’t be stolen from the owner. Australia needs more of that education currency here. It’s our passport to the future success of this country.”