A group of 180 students at Woodridge State High School who had been taking part in NRL legend Jonathan Thurston’s JT Succeed Program, an initiative of his JT Academy, were treated to a surprise visit from the man himself.
The JT Succeed Program looks at a wide range of subjects and includes a focus on building self-confidence.
“We also encourage a change of mindset. We love to empower courage with our participants and give them the self-belief to put their hand up for future employment opportunities. We're all about encouraging our participants to build their aspirations and achieve their goals," Woodridge High’s Employment Connections Coach Rhiannon Parsons said.
“The students were called to an assembly where we played them a video JT had made thanking them for being a part of the JT Succeed program which we had done last semester
"There were TV cameras at the school filming what the students were told was material for the JT Academy chronicling a visit from the Academy’s General Manager, Samantha Johnson, who had previously spoken at the school as part of the JT Succeed Program.
“The students have been taking part in the JT Succeed program where we talk about self-belief, courage and confidence; how to find them and how to use them. The program is an intensive employment program designed after industry consultation to give young people who want to work, the edge they need to gain and maintain employment," she said.
Thurston told students he receives a report about every school visit undertaken by staff at the Academy as part of the JT Succeed program and that he had seen the social media work students at Woodridge High produced as part of the first visit to the school from the Academy.
“We are hoping that the Academy will be able to reach as many young Australians as possible to equip them with the tools needed to help them find meaningful employment,” Thurston said. “The idea of being courageous, having self -belief and being confident can be scary, I know.
“My message is don’t be scared of failing, be more scared of not giving it a go. I want to encourage as many youth as I can to keep turning up to school and to keep believing in themselves.
“And for those who may not have access to school, or who just don’t fit with the school system, there are other ways of getting the skills and qualifications you need to get a job. Don’t give up. Let us help you if we can."
Rhiannon said she knew the messages being shared by the JT Succeed Program would resonate with students at the school and that was why the school became involved with the JT Academy.
“We know Johnathan Thurston is a major role model for the majority of our student population, and he has built such a great reputation for himself that we knew it would be a great program that our students would be excited to be a part of,” she said.
“We knew these messages were going to be well received by our students who follow Johnathan Thurston’s career, but I found that all students were able to take away valuable knowledge and insight that will be useful during their schooling years and beyond.
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Australian rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston continues to inspire Indigenous kids to strive through the JT Academy.