Jindabyne Central School logo

Jindabyne Central School

Jindabyne Central School

Educating the Future.

Telephone02 6456 2346


Proud Jindabyne Community Celebrate JCS Olympians

JCS Olympians

Jindabyne Central School was extremely honoured to have three former students and a current teacher participate in this year's Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. With the most former students of any school in Australia to be selected for the 2022 Australian Winter Olympic team, the students acknowledge they benefited from the school’s strong Snowsports program, including their participation in the Australian Interschools Snowsports Championships.

Four years ago, JCS finished school early to cheer on former JCS student Adam Lambert (Class of 2015) at his first Olympic Games. The school was proud to watch him line up again for the Men's Snowboard Cross event on February 10. Adam is the embodiment of JCS’ school values 'Leadership' and 'Citizenship' not only through his inspiring example of hard work to reach his second Olympics but also in the way he gives back to the Jindabyne community, such as his involvement in the 'Little Shredders' program.

In an unexpected turn of events, the school community was even more excited when due to a withdrawal, Australia was able to enter a second team into the Mixed Team Snowboard Cross event of February 12. Selected for this team was both Adam and fellow former student Josie Baff (Class of 2020). Adam and Josie battled soft snow on the racetrack, but they held their own against gold medallist Team USA, with Adam even leading his race for a short time. Both Adam and Josie clearly had a lot of fun. During an interview after the event Adam summarised their momentous moment: “I was super happy, being able to pull out in the first (Snowboard Cross) team event ever… at the Olympics… making history.”

The Mixed Team Snowboard Cross event was the second event at Beijing for both Adam and Josie. Feeling as though the school was cheering on Team JCS from the Channel 7 dubbed ‘Nation of Jindabyne’, the school community was grateful for the opportunity to see their former students race again! Josie made her Olympic debut on February 9 in the Snowboard Cross event. No stranger to the world stage, Josie made history as Australia’s first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games Champion, winning gold in the Snowboard Cross at Lausanne 2020.  Josie’s positive attitude despite not progressing through to the finals in Beijing exemplifies the JCS philosophy of being a life-long learner. Speaking after her Snowboard Cross heat with a big smile on her face, she said she would ‘put this one in her pocket’ and work towards ‘next time’!

It was not that long ago that Josie was representing JCS at Interschools, something for which she credits as a key motivator for her career path as a professional athlete. “I went to Jindabyne Central School all the way through from kindergarten to year 12, and Interschools was a very big part of our culture… without Interschools I don’t think I ever would have got into racing the same way. It’s such a big part of everyone’s introduction to competition."

“I loved the whole aspect of Interschools, every person there is so lovely, and you make really good friendships and I have friends from there I still have, including Abi Harrigan.”

Abi Harrigan (also from the Class of 2020) qualified for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 3 events (slopestyle, big air and halfpipe). Representing JCS in her first Interschools event at 8 years old she went on to compete in her first International Ski Federation event at 15. At only 19 years of age Abi has had 11 World Cup starts! Abi was known at school for her humble and positive attitude. A trait she clearly maintains, despite a fractured fibula keeping her from participating in two of her events she pushed through to compete in the Slopestyle. “My Olympic experience has been an interesting one, but I’m stoked to be here.” Students and staff watched on as Abi’s determination to compete ‘and have some fun’ despite the pain of injury taught us all a lesson in not giving up on your dream!

Abi’s mother, Julianne Harrigan, also recognises the role that JCS and Interschools have played in Abi’s success. “One of the highlights for Abi throughout her schooling was representing JCS in interschools at regional, state and national levels. She has been competing in those almost her entire school life and was usually with the same bunch of friends. It was always such a fun time regardless of results, for both the kids and the parents.

She always had the support of the school, helping her in her studies once she needed to miss more school for training and competing.  Her year advisor Sasha Heath was absolutely amazing in checking in on Abi, ensuring she was up to date with all her learning tasks and was and is still her biggest supporter. We cannot thank her and the rest of the JCS community enough for their support. Paul Livissianos, Michael Kowalewski, Steve Cooper and almost every JCS staff member played a part in ensuring Abi's education never suffered while she chased those dreams.”

Abi, Josie and Adam are not the only Olympians to have attended Jindabyne Central School who has a proud history of supporting national and international skiing and snowboarding champions. Flexible learning options for students competing at elite levels is something the school stives to accommodate. Acting Secondary Principal Michael Kowalewski explains that “Over many years, the school has facilitated pathways for students to participate and achieve in Snowsports, from our own Snowsports programs which begin in Kindergarten and go through to Year 10, to participating in regional, state, and national Interschools,”

“JCS provides support for these athletes through flexibility in school attendance, provision of online and remote learning and additional individualised tutoring and we also support other elite athletes who enrol at the school during winter.”

It is not only academically and socially that the school can support students but also on the snow as many staff members hold qualifications themselves. Geography and PDHPE teacher, and JCS Snowsports Coordinator, Paul Livissianos (Mr L) was also at this year’s Winter Olympics as a moguls and aerial judge. Speaking of his judging approach, Paul highlighted his transferable skills: “While I don’t come from an athlete background, I’ve found my judging style seems to work. These are criteria-based sports, so as a teacher it correlates quite easily. It’s a little different to ex-athletes and coaches who are judges. They concentrate on technique – I’m judging it more like I would a year 12 essay: on the set criteria. It seems to have worked reasonably well, as I was offered a role as a judge for the Beijing Winter Olympics and then shortly after received an award from Snow Australia for official of the year.”

The school’s ability to foster elite athletes is only set to improve with the primary and high school campuses soon to move to the Jindabyne Recreation Centre grounds, immediately adjacent to the National Snowsports Training Centre.

Mr Kowaleski notes that “the world-class training facilities on the school's doorstep will further strengthen the links between education and training for athletes. With so much talent coming through the school in the junior ranks, we are certainly looking forward to a very bright and successful future in the snow sports arena.”

The whole school community is extremely proud of Abi, Adam, Josie and Mr L! They are an inspiration not only to current and future JCS students who aspire to pursue snowsports but to all our students who have the determination to follow their dreams.

You can see Josie and Adam’s interview after the Mixed Team event at https://twitter.com/7olympics/status/1492324750676443136.

Follow Adam’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZiS8msDU-s0Pcs_CPb2tkQ