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Formal Dinner Speaker Series

On Monday, March 25th, the students received the first Formal Dinner Speaker of the year, James Coventry. James is the National Sports Editor at the ABC in Adelaide. He has been working at the ABC since 2002 and has worked his way up the ranks from journalist to National Sports Editor.

Throughout his career he has reported across radio, television and web platforms. He has broadcast live from significant sporting events such as the 2016 Rio Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. James has also published the following two books exploring AFL history and techniques.

Time and Space: The Tactics that Shaped Australian Rules and the Players and Coaches who Mastered Them (2015)

Footballistics: How the Data Analytics Revolution is Uncovering Footy’s Hidden Truths (2018)

His speech to the students detailed the diligent work he put in during his university years to stand out from the pack and to achieve his dream of becoming a sports journalist. James took any job possible and wrote about any topic needed to build his portfolio and get closer to his ideal career.

He also spoke about the ABC’s 50:50 Equality Project. Since December 2018, the project began in earnest to boost female representation in the public media sphere. Historically, as few as one in four people represented in the news media as broadcasters, journalists and expert commentators are women, and the ABC is leading the way in Australian media to achieve a 50:50 ratio. As editor of the sports division, James has spearheaded the charge to attain gender equality within his newsroom.

James encouraged the students to find work that they are passionate about, and that brings them joy so that they won’t ever feel burdened by their careers. He also indicated that at times, a job listing at the ABC brings in 250+ applicants and it is important to work out ways to distinguish oneself from a mountain of resumes.

Aspiring sports journo Theo Dimou is studying a Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing. He found James’ talk particularly relevant. “James spoke about how important it is to take your opportunities in the journalism industry and that it may require stepping outside of your comfort zone, which only builds confidence,” Theo said. “James’ body of work and his 20 years in the field is a true testament to his current role as National Sports Editor at the ABC, now guiding and mentoring journalists to produce work at a high standard. I was inspired by the advice James gave, since I am also aiming for a position in the field of sports journalism.”


On Monday, April 29th we welcomed Ellen and Maggie from Redbull Australia to promote their charity event called Wings for Life. This event is fully managed by Redbull with 100% of money raised directed to spinal cord injury research. The duo was accompanied by Jake Bilsborow, whose life has been greatly impacted by spinal cord injury. His remarks to the students about how grateful he is for the fundraiser and the amount of people who support it have inspired many St Ann’s College students to sign up to participate.

For more on St Ann’s participation in the Wings for Life fundraiser, please click here.


The Honourable Blair Boyer, Minister for Education, Training and Skills delivered a fantastic Formal Dinner speech to the students on Monday, May 13th. Minister Boyer is the State Member of Parliament for the electorate of Wright in Adelaide’s Northeastern suburbs. His key objectives are to improve education in South Australia, build a skilled workforce, and ensure that our industries are equipped with the skills needed now and for the future.

Minister Boyer grew up in Southwestern Victoria (near Mt Gambier) and went to Mannix College whilst studying Law and Arts at Monash University. Drawing on his experience belonging to in a residential College in the early 2000’s, he was able to give a relevant speech to our students recounting this character-building experience.

He reminisced about the joys of playing College footy, attending formal dinners, and leading as College President. He also detailed the “soft skills” gained in College which helped him grow into an adult, and eventually into the political leadership position he obtained years later. He ensured the students that the independence, resilience and people facing-skills that they develop in College will set them up for lifelong careers.

We also learned of his political journey from working for a country Labor MP in the early days, to becoming Chief of Staff for 2011’s Education Minister Jennifer Rankine and Deputy Chief of Staff to Premier Jay Weatherill. He was appointed to his current position in March 2022 under the Malinauskus Labor Government.

Senior RA Dana Hurrell, who is aiming to become a teacher, found some poignant messages in his delivery. She took away the nugget of knowledge that “in Minister Boyer’s opinion, the most valuable skills that employers are looking for are the ability to work independently, resilience and adaptability, and soft skills such as communication and positive relationships/team-working skills.”

Dana was also pleased to find he is very supportive of our students’ decision to choose a college because of how he believes “residential colleges can set us up for the future, and we should not underestimate how much we learn and grow within this environment.”


On Monday May 20th we received visitor Uncle John Lochowiak, who performed an Acknowledgement of Country and traditional Smoking Ceremony in the St Ann’s College Rose Garden. To read about this special visit and student Jayden Willie’s guernsey presentation, please click here.


We thank our speakers for the large impact they provide in the short period of time spent at the College. If you have any leads for a meaningful guest speaker for the College, we always welcome you to get in touch.

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