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Meet Sam – Our First JTStar!

Published on 21 Jun 2018

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Introducing a JTStar

We love to share stories about the rising stars amongst our students who are completing programs with JTAcademy.  Our first JTStar is Sam – he is a student at St Mary’s College in Toowoomba, the same school that Johnathan attended before he began his footy career.

Sam is one of the first JT Academy recruits and says he is stoked to be involved. Sam is currently studying for his cert 3 in cabinet making and is enjoying completing his apprenticeship with the great team at RWN Joinery in Toowoomba, alongside another classmate from school.

Studying year 11 as well as a trade is tough at times but Sam is keen to complete his training and is keeping his options open by also studying certificates in hospitality and physical education. He thinks he may like to be a chef one day, or possibly a personal trainer and be even more involved in sport.

In his spare time Sam loves to play footy for Highfields and his brothers have followed him there to the club.

Sam was very excited to be one of the students selected from amongst 800 students of his school to attend the launch event of the JT Academy in Brisbane, in recognition of his leadership. The students all had to be on the bus for the city early that morning and were very keen to meet Johnathan in person – it was the first time Sam had met JT, although his brother had previously. Sam was impressed that JT was really funny and talked a lot to the kids about aiming high and enjoying team work.

At the launch, Sam was chosen by his teachers to represent the school and be interviewed by media and, although he said it was daunting to face all the cameras, Sam gave it his best shot and was very proud that his family and friends saw him on the news.

Meeting JT was extra meaningful for Sam, as he lost his brother to suicide a few years ago. When Johnathan heard the news he took the time to personally write to Sam’s family and it meant a lot to them all.

Sam’s big day was topped off with an especially memorable experience that night, as he and his school mates went to the Thurston-Smith Testimonial Game with more than 25,000 fellow fans, thanks to JT Academy, and they sat in the second row to watch the Cowboys win!

Well done Sam and good luck with all your studies! We think you are a star.



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.

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