The Right Spirit

20 Jan 2022

By The Record

The Right Spirit captures the most memorable days and finest achievements of ACC schoolchildren across 85 years, dating back to the first competition between three Christian Brothers boys’ schools at Loton Park in East Perth, on a Saturday in October 1937. Photo: Supplied.

What do Brownlow Medallists Matt Priddis and Simon Black, Olympian Peter Bol and Paralympian Rhiannon Clarke have in common with the international sports star and Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr? They are all West Australian sporting superstars, of course, but all of them also had their first taste of sporting glory playing for their school at an ACC sports event.

The Associated and Catholic Colleges of WA (ACC) is the largest independent, private secondary school sports association in Australia, and to celebrate their 85th anniversary late last year, Peter Bol and Matt Priddis launched a new book, The Right Spirit – A History of ACC Sport, written by Perth author Ken Spillman, on Friday 19th November.

Packed with images, The Right Spirit captures the most memorable days and finest achievements of ACC schoolchildren across 85 years, dating back to the first competition between three Christian Brothers boys’ schools at Loton Park in East Perth, on a Saturday in October 1937.

“From those three schools in 1937 we have grown to 89 schools and over 55 000 students,” said ACC Director of Sport, Kyle March.

The Associated and Catholic Colleges of WA (ACC) is the largest independent, private secondary school sports association in Australia, and to celebrate their 85th anniversary late last year, Peter Bol and Matt Priddis launched a new book, The Right Spirit – A History of ACC Sport, written by Perth author Ken Spillman, on Friday 19th November. Photo: Supplied.

“Over the years ACC sport has provided many up-and-coming champions with their first experience in sport, but more importantly it has provided countless thousands of everyday students with their own moments of glory.

“Inclusion of all denominations, genders and abilities has been in our DNA since the Brothers’ first started the association,” Mr March explained.

It was the first private school association in WA to go ‘co-educational’ in the early seventies, was first to introduce computer scoring and web result services and was also the first to include activities for students with disabilities in an interschool sport program.

“People often talk about how many schools we have and the systems we developed to manage all that sport,” Mr March said.

“But for me, the barometer of our success has been our sport-for-all-philosophy. Watching Peter Bol and Paralympian Rhiannon Clarke run at Tokyo was a very proud moment for everyone involved with ACC sport. Just knowing that the opportunities we provide helped them find their talent and live their dream makes it all worthwhile”. Copies of The Right Spirit – A History of ACC Sport are available online at accwa.square.site

John Pitts in action in 1945. The Associated and Catholic Colleges of WA celebrate their 85th anniversary with the launch of a new book, The Right Spirit – A History of ACC Sport. Photo: Supplied.