The upside of downball

This week we have two of our Year 8 students published in the local Star Newspaper.

Two Kurunjang Secondary College schoolmates are so serious about downball that they formed their own company to get more courts laid.

Year 8 students Shaun McAndrew, the managing director andTy Duff, second-in-charge,formed the Downball Court Company earlier this year because they wanted to solve the problem of congestion in the playground.

Assistant principal Aylin Gokmen said she tasked the boys with finding a solution after a schoolyard dispute.

“Last term while I was looking after junior school, I was dealing with a dispute between some kids over space to play downball  and Shaun overheard me,” Ms Gokmen said.

“He  said  to  me  that  the  school  needs more downball courts so I suggested that he spearhead the project.”


Ms Gokmen set the two boys a mission to form  a  company  and  advised  them  to  look into the feasibility of installing more downball courts and survey unmarked areas that students were using to play the game.

With a borrowed line marker from neighbouring Kurunjang Primary School, and the assistance of the school maintenance officer, the pair marked up three more courts.

They plan to hold a downball competition in coming weeks.

“It was about engagement and turning their energies into something positive,” Ms Gokmen said. “When a problem arises, I wanted them to know that creative thinking and positive action is the way to resolve a problem instead of complaining.

“I also wanted them to take ownership of an idea and to feel responsible for seeing it become a reality.”


Esther Lauaki     Year 8 students Shaun and Ty play downball. (Shawn Smits)