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Palm Island embraces Community Coops

Monopoly, goal setting and basketball tricks – all in a day's work for Cowboys community ambassador Gavin Cooper on Palm Island for Adopt-a-School.

With the support of program partner Hutchinson Builders, Coops made his first Townsville to Palm Island trip in his new role, visiting St Michael's Catholic School and Bwgcolman Community School.

Chief Community & Government Relations Manager Fiona Pelling joined the former Cowboy and life member to show him the ropes.

The Palm Island schools are long-term participants in the Adopt-a-School program, which sees Cowboys players and ambassadors visiting Townsville and district schools each term to connect and engage as role models.

With the support of presenting partner Bravus Mining and Resources, program schools choose the activities for their adopted Cowboys, making visits exciting, interactive and highly enjoyable for the visitors, students and staff. 

Setting goals with Bwgcolman

Arriving at Bwgcolman Community School, Coops tapped into his learnings from a long rugby league career to add insights and experience to personal development activities across a range of year levels.

Visit highlights:

  • Speaking to Year 7-8 about the focus and demands of being an NRL player and the importance of school and goal setting
  • Answering questions from Year 5-6 about school, setting goals, achieving in life and being a success at sport, as well as which Cowboys NRL player is the fastest!
  • Being part of a Year 9-12 workshop on setting goals and planning for the future
  • Mixing with students and staff for photos and autographs

Deputy Principal (Acting) Mark Clancy said their school community loved the visit from Coops, a "humble superstar".

"Our school’s strong interest in rugby league reflects the community in which we're based.

Having a program with the Cowboys really means something to the community and the students.

Deputy Principal (Acting) Mark Clancy Bwgcolman Community School, Palm Island

"It's inspiring and exciting to have visits from the Cowboys," he said.

Getting active with St Michael's

Over at St Michael's Catholic School, the day changed gears with games and sport, and the chance for Coops to show off some basketball skills!

Thanks to the St Michael's Year 5 students for this report:

Mr Gavin Cooper, the famous Cowboys player, visited St Michael's. He was playing monopoly with the Year 5 boys while Ms Fiona, who works for the Cowboys, was playing Uno with the girls. Miss Connie was taking lots of happy photos with the whole class in Year 5. They even spent time with us at lunchtime and taught us how to spin a basketball on the tip of a lead pencil. We also took a big photo with a bunch of other kids surrounding him at the tuck shop. Gavin also spent some time with Year 1 as they had a Physical Education lesson. Everyone enjoyed their visit to our school and hope they come back soon.

Kayerhiarn, Alana and Tahlia - Year 5 St Michael's Catholic School, Palm Island

The Cowboys also have a long-term connection with Palm Island through the Obe Geia Challenge, the club's annual junior rugby league carnival focused on inclusion and set to return in 2021 after a COVID-19 hiatus.

Thank you to Palm Island for hosting the Cowboys – see you next year!