HAPPY FACES: Johnathan Thurston met with a delighted group of local indigenous students on Monday.
HAPPY FACES: Johnathan Thurston met with a delighted group of local indigenous students on Monday. Contributed

Student behaviour rewarded with visit from Thurston

OUR indigenous young adults are benefiting from a program which is changing their education experiences.

Toolooa State High student Gavin Smith with Johnathan Thurston. Photo Contributed
Toolooa State High student Gavin Smith with Johnathan Thurston. Photo Contributed Contributed

Just last Monday, Johnathan Thurston visited Toolooa State High School students taking part in the Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) program, offered to the indigenous secondary senior students.

Toolooa State High School indigenous co-ordinator Bill Moloney said the program encouraged recognition for good effort and behaviour in the classrooms.

He said the NRL player's visit was a reward as part of their "Semester goals''.

"Their goal for semester one was to either get an excellent or very good for effort and behaviour for maths and English," Mr Moloney said.

The students who achieved this met Johnathan Thurston and received a certificate.

The program has operated since term four 2010.

"Since the trial program, their grades have improved so much. The aim is to close the gap."

He said studies show that only one in 90 indigenous students who start school complete grade 12.

"We've now got kids encouraging each other. I remember the old stereotype that if a kid isn't doing well he was a bit 'cool' but I think that attitude is changing."

The same goal is set for this semester and the reward for those who achieve it is a trip to the Gold Coast.

Toolooa State High student Tr'e Sirriss with Johnathan Thurston. Photo Contributed
Toolooa State High student Tr'e Sirriss with Johnathan Thurston. Photo Contributed Contributed