Rising athletics star Ella Connolly loves to work with and help young people achieve their goals.

The first-year education student said her parents, both teachers, have had a major influence on her decision to study teaching at university.

“Being able to make a positive difference to other people’s life and to call that your career I think is something truly special,’’ she says.

“I’ve chosen to teach secondary education as there is more opportunity to engage in athletics and other sporting programs at school.

“I would love to work at a school that values sport and athletics as this is what I am really passionate about and it’s where I think I can make a positive difference.”

As a member of the Griffith Sports College Ella says the best thing about studying at Griffith is the overwhelming support given to student athletes.

“My sporting scholarship and support from the Griffith Sports College has enabled me to train twice a day, six days a week while travelling overseas with my sport, without hinderingacademic results.

The 400m specialist recently returned from the Czech Republic where her team placed third in the 4×400 metres mixed relay (3:18.55). She placed fourth in the World U20 Championships held in Finland in July in an impressive time of 52.82.

Ella also received a Moreton Bay Regional Council Australia Day Award in January and in 2017 won three medals at the Youth Commonwealth Games.

She was also the youngest selected for the Australian team at the IAAF World Championships in London and is currently hard in trials training for the 2019 World University Games in Italy.

“Griffith has enabled me to compete at my best through financial and study support. I’m also grateful for the advice from Olympic gold medallist Naomi McCarthy OAM (Griffith Sports College Manager), who has been there before and went through what we are striving for now.”

“It is recognised that elite athletes perform better asdual career athletes, balancing a career in sport and a career in something else,’’ Naomi says.

“The Griffith Sports College is proud to be able to assist almost 600 elite athletes to manage the pressure of high performance sport and also academic studies, allowing them to have this dual career.

“Ella is a great example of an athlete competing on the world stage and still managing to excel in her academic studies. She works extremelyhard on the track and in the classroom to achieve this.”