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A Word From Johnathan
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Johnathan Thurston opens doors for Cairns and Logan youth with ‘deadly’ new program

Published on 14 Sep 2020

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A new Deadly Choices jersey was launched at Marsden State High School last week, with the program officially launched at Djarragun College in August by JT Academy Managing Director Johnathan Thurston. A key part of the JTConnect program encourages the youth of Logan to believe in yourself and have the courage and confidence and pursue employment.

The JTConnect program is an initiative of the Johnathan Thurston Academy, sponsored by the Deadly Choices’ Indigenous health campaign, and is designed to empower young people to believe in themselves and be the difference. Students who complete the JTConnect program and are up to date with their 715 Health Check through their participating community-controlled health service will receive a JTConnect Deadly Choices jersey.

“I’m excited about the new Deadly Choices jersey collaboration with the JT Academy and JTConnect – the program has already visited a number of high schools around Cairns and Logan,” Thurston said.  “We truly believe that by instilling a strong sense of self-belief, confidence and courage will empower young people to pursue a career or a job for a better life.

“We want kids to believe in themselves and have the confidence and courage to make good choices, like turning up to school every day.  This makes the world of difference when it comes to pursuing the job of their dreams and feeling like they have a choice when it comes to their career path.

“It makes me incredibly sad when I see the lack of self-belief, confidence, and courage among our youth. It’s what drives me and the team at the JT Academy to work with our nation’s youth to make a difference, one step at a time.

“In everything we do, we aim to inspire our youth to feel proud and strong with their identity and who they are as individuals and this program will go a long way towards this goal.”

The Deadly Choices and JT Academy jersey collaboration celebrate the JTConnect program launched in Cairns in August – which has already been delivered to over 200 young people across the state. The JTConnect program is free to schools and is open to students aged 15 years and over. Trained facilitators work with young people improving their confidence, courage, and self-belief and inspiring Australia’s next generation to pursue the employment and career options which spark their interest.

Program Partner Deadly Choices was established by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) 10 years ago. IUIH CEO Adrian Carson said the JTConnect partnership is built around sharing values with the JT Academy including building confidence, courage, and self-belief.

“JT is a hero and a legend to many in Australia and the JT Academy programs and resources directly link in with our Deadly Choices strategy of empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices and shape their work future through training and employment pathways,” Adrian said.

“We are proud to partner with this program and support the goal of help building confidence, courage, and self-belief in young adults to help them understand their value and aspirations with future employment opportunities.

“There is clear evidence of the link between health, education, and employment outcomes and so working alongside JT Academy as a JTConnect Program Partner is helping us to connect with our young people to increase engagement and to facilitate aspiration to deadly careers pathways.”

At various JTConnect workshops, Deadly Choices will also run their Good Quick Tukka program and provide some great initiatives to encourage regular health checks.

The JTConnect program is running over the next 12 months and will see the team visit several schools in the Cairns and Logan regions.

Schools within the Logan and Cairns areas are invited to contact Rhi Parsons or the team at to register for the free program – vacancies available in 2021.


Johnathan Thurston Academy pays the deepest respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country across Australia. We acknowledge and thank our Elders who demonstrated over 60,000 years of sustainable Indigenous business and ask them to guide us back on track to a more prosperous and purposeful future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.