When speaking to our 2020 School Captain Jacob, there’s no doubt that he’s built for leadership.
He’s articulate, passionate and committed to being a role model for other NGC students and any young person who may have had a hard start in life. Jacob’s message is simple: no matter what tough stuff you’ve gone through, you can always change the path you’re on.
And that’s exactly what this Year 12 student has done. Enrolling at NG Central in Term 2 2018, Jacob had struggled to find stability in his mainstream schooling. His challenging and turbulent experiences of foster care meant he changed schools multiple times a year and found it challenging to fit in.
Jacob’s interrupted learning hindered his academic progress and without intensive classroom support, he became disengaged. On the advice of a school principal, he decided to give NG Central a go and from his first day, he didn’t look back.
“Coming to NGC was the first time I ever got to work with a teacher’s aid. When I get things explained to me clearly and I can get help when I need it, I’m able to buckle down and focus. But the teachers don’t just get you working on one thing at your desk for six hours a day either. We’re always doing different things and you get rewarded for completing your tasks. That really works for me.”
The proof is definitely in the pudding, as Jacob’s academic performance continues to improve and he sets his sights on completing his HSC this November. As the first member of his family to ever reach Year 12, he is already pioneering an amazing path for himself. Jacob particularly excels at Maths, loves working on creative projects in Photography, Video and Digital Imaging and even surprised himself by achieving his first ever A in English!
But it’s in vocational education and training where Jacob thrives most. Having built billy carts and tree-houses since he was in primary school, he has always loved the hands-on nature of Construction. Under the direction of our Construction trainer Ken, Jacob is working towards his Certificate II and taking the lead in class projects, like the build of a demountable toilet block for our school. Jacob also recently completed a week-long work placement with local sole trader Paul Richardson, walking away with fantastic feedback and a greater appreciation for the reality of a work-site.
“For the demountable toilet block, we've been working on the cladding and cutting timber to attach to the plumbing. I love having that goal and getting into a rhythm with a plan in front of me. It’s going to be great to leave behind something all students will be able to use. I really liked my work experience with Paul and the team were all good blokes. I got to try the jack-hammer, water-proof and help build a staircase and scaffolding. It definitely made me even keener to get into Construction after school."
Outside of the classroom and workshop, Jacob says the best part of NGC is the people and emphasises how supportive and close-knit everyone is. After recently being elected as one of our 2020 School Captains, he is rising to the challenge, using his own experiences as fuel for empathising with students of all year groups.
When asked about what the future holds for him, he’s passionate about pursuing all the opportunities NGC has given him and going on to achieve his HSC, a trade qualification and maybe one day even training to be a Maths teacher!
“Early on in life, I used to be focused on the bad stuff that happened to me. But I’ve learnt that it’s all about mindset; there is no time machine and you can’t live life with regrets. You just have to learn from everything, focus on all the good stuff and not take anything for granted.
I want to show kids out there that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what trauma you go through in your life, you can move on to great things. Maybe one day I’ll even do one of those TED talks and spread that message."