He has graced many stages but it was a very proud Johnathan Thurston who accepted his award for 13 years' commitment to Kirwan State Primary School on his first 2018 Adopt-a-School visit this week.
With the continued support of program partner Stockland Townsville, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys kicked off Adopt-a-School for the year with players and ambassadors each dropping in on their school to be part of the day's lessons and activities.
Over in Kirwan, JT was presenting students with certificates at assembly on Monday morning when he was surprised with his own certificate of appreciation, the gesture bringing a huge smile to the co-captain's face!
Across all of the visits, the 'adopted' Cowboys encouraged classes to make healthy choices, as a part of the NRL's Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well health initiative, with players involved in a range of activities:
- Kyle Feldt visited Good Shepherd Catholic School, where he talked to years five and six about the importance of teamwork, a good diet and exercise. The time wasn't just spent talking though, with each session followed by a quick game outdoors.
- Gavin Cooper spoke to Wulguru State School classes about healthy eating, encouraging the year four students to eat a good breakfast, followed by an energetic game with the class outside.
- Michael Morgan returned to Marian Catholic School – his own school from pre-school to year seven – and spent some quiet time meditating with the year one students.
- Ambassador Ray Thompson visited Gumlu State School, taking the students through on-field activities and a fast game of touch!
With 45 schools participating in Adopt-a-School in 2018, Cowboys General Manager of Community Fiona Pelling said the club and Stockland Townsville were very excited to be rolling out another huge year for the program.
"Adopt-a-School is a long-term initiative that enables the Cowboys to positively influence primary school children, especially when sharing the message of healthy living," Ms Pelling said.
"It's special moments like JT's that remind us the adopted Cowboys form important relationships with the school community."
The Cowboys make over 650 visits to North Queensland schools annually, and will continue to be involved in a variety of school community activities, including curriculum-based activities, sporting clinics, presentation nights, outdoor activities and school assemblies.