The new school year is only a week old but Doomadgee State School is out of the blocks early to get students to attend five days a week.
Last week's North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' Try for 5! visit kick-started Doomadgee's intra-school challenge for 2020, with the goal of achieving the short and long-term benefits of consistent school attendance for the P-12 cohort.
Poor school attendance has been linked across our society to lower academic outcomes, early school leaving, substance abuse, poverty, unemployment and negative health outcomes.
It's the Cowboys' fourth Try for 5! visit to the remote north-west Queensland community, and while 1,200 kilometres separates them, the program is bringing the club and school ever closer, with the support of the Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.
This time around it was former Cowboy and NRL Cowboys House transitions officer Antonio Winterstein who visited classrooms, worked on projects and spoke with students about why school matters.
- 6B threw down the Try for 5! challenge to their class competitors, predicting a 6B win!
- Year 8 worked on their 'High 5' projects, designed to reinforce the school values, encourage good choices and re-establish the school-day routine.
- Year 4 talked about how to stay calm and remain in the 'green zone'.
Doomadgee has close ties with NRL Cowboys House, with 2019 graduate Hakeem Peters and five current home-grown students calling the boarding facility their second home.
It's an easy connection for Winterstein to make with the town's youngest residents – go to school and good things will happen for you, just like Hakeem, Eli, Chad, Eric, Frederick and Juwarn.
The club's community team is using creative solutions to incentivise 'school every day', including personal video call-outs from ambassadors like Cowboys legend and community officer Matthew Bowen and club merchandise as attendance rewards.
The message is reinforced every day by the school's dedicated staff and support from the wider Doomadgee school community is also crucial, with the program reaching parents and friends through social media and television.
Doomadgee State School is part of the 2020 Try for 5! family of 18 Queensland schools and government and corporate partners comprised of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, Adani, M&J Chickens and Regional Express.