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Janelle Cuthbertson (2006-2008) attended SIDE for Years 11 and 12 while pursuing a tennis career. SIDE allowed her to balance her senior schooling over three years and to continue her training and travelling to tournaments.

What did you do after finishing school?

After graduating from SIDE I packed up my life and moved to Texas, USA on a tennis scholarship. I lived in Texas for just under five years where I represented Texas A&M University in tennis and completed a Bachelor Degree in Science in Sport Management. At 23 I decided to retire from tennis and move back to Perth to focus on my career.

What are you doing now?

For the past seven years I have been working in the sport industry holding various roles across multiple sports such as Netball WA, Western Australian Cricket Association and in local government. I am currently employed by the City of Joondalup as the Team Leader for Sport and Recreation. These roles have been enabled me the opportunity to work in sports both at a community level and in high performance. I have also completed a graduate certificate in Project Management from Curtin University.

I started to miss the competitive nature of sports, and in 2019 I decided to start playing AFL. In October 2019 I was drafted to the Fremantle Football Club AFLW team where I have just finished my second season. I have recently been selected into the AFLW All Australian Team.

How did SIDE prepare you for life after school?

SIDE taught me discipline and how to effectively manage my time in addition to being able to draw on intrinsic motivation.

Not being in a structured classroom on a daily basis with teachers accessible to you at all times, it was very easy to get distracted, off task or simply hard to get motivated. Completing my studies through SIDE I had to be disciplined in my choices to ensure I stayed on task in getting the work done according to deadlines while also managing my studies around full-time tennis training, travelling for tournaments and the societal pressures and distractions of a teenager.

All of these skills I have been able to transition into my professional and football career where I have the skills and experience to manage the demands of working full-time and training and competing in the AFLW.