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Full House for the first time

A dedicated group of young North Queensland students from 23 remote communities have made the long journey from their homes to take up residence at NRL Cowboys House for the start of a milestone school year for the unique boarding facility.

The 2020 cohort, ranging from Year 7-12, will undertake their secondary studies at Townsville schools while residing at NRL Cowboys House in its first year at full operational capacity, three years after the House first opened its doors to 25 students.

The House is a unique and supportive accommodation solution for young people from some of the nation’s most geographically disadvantaged communities, enabling access to quality secondary education and a supported transition to employment or further education.

Welcome back – the airport run!
Welcome back – the airport run!

Students began arriving last Friday in preparation for the start of the school this week, with the NRL Cowboys House team welcoming 104 new and returning students to the Boys and Girls Campuses, adjacent to Pimlico TAFE in Gulliver.

For the new starters, week one will be an introduction to their living and learning environments, with new routines to master with the support of staff and fellow students who have previously made NRL Cowboys House their second home.   

This year’s studies are particularly crucial for a group of 18 prospective graduates who will be supported through their final year of secondary school by the highly qualified and passionate team of education, welfare and health and wellbeing professionals. 

Packing a healthy lunch at the Girls Campus
Packing a healthy lunch at the Girls Campus

Cowboys Community Foundation Director Fiona Pelling said the wrap-around model of care in place ensures an individual approach for every NRL Cowboys House student.

“We’re now in our fourth year of operation and are very proud to have grown and evolved in our delivery of this important opportunity to a fantastic group of young people, full of potential and optimism for their futures,” Ms Pelling said.

“Every student has a story and our approach is founded in the belief that understanding their unique challenges, strengths and aspirations is vital to their success in an environment that is very different to where they’ve come from.

When they first arrive, many of our students are found to be up to two years behind their urban peers in their academic levels, and we work hard to turn this around with an intensive program delivered by our education team and tutor network.

Fiona Pelling

“While education is a primary focus, our students’ journey is also built on preparing them for life as employed economic contributors to our community and role models for the generations that follow.”

2020 Orientation Day, NRL Cowboys House
2020 Orientation Day, NRL Cowboys House

NRL Cowboys House guides students through formal education to ‘Year 13’ with a transitions program, run by two transition officers funded by Waanyi Downer and supported by local industry partners who provide valuable real-life experience through apprenticeships and school-based traineeships.

The House celebrated the achievements of its first four graduates in 2019 and is proudly following their progress as the former students continue their vocational training in their chosen fields.