21 January 2021

Sam is paying forward the support you gave…

Posted in SU QLD

It is often said ‘to err is human’. It’s something we can’t escape. We all make mistakes – we all fall short of perfection.

However, as Christians we also believe in redemption, and many of us have our own stories to share.

For Sam Fillery, his story is a powerful example of this and the vital role that your support has played in his life and in the lives of many like him.

But first, let’s rewind the clock back to Sam’s high school years.

“I wasn’t a ‘naughty’ kid at school, but I had made one or two bad decisions and had been suspended,” Sam says.

Deputy Principal at Beaudesert State High School, Sheryl remembers Sam well.

“Sam was a student that was somewhat disengaged – he wasn’t really a big troublemaker, but he didn’t engage with school a lot and did some silly things,” Sheryl recalls.

After leaving school Sam worked as a chef for five years, but found no satisfaction in that life. Sam was now volunteering at church, leading on youth camps, and had found a sense of purpose in what he was doing.

It wasn’t long before his friends encouraged him to get into youth work.

“While I was studying I came across my old chappy, Jamie Sharp. I was looking for somewhere to do my 100 hours of study placement – so I asked if he’d be interested in taking me on.”

Jamie took him under his wing, and as Sam undertook his placement he saw the difference Chappy Jamie was making – it inspired him to become a school chaplain.

After completing his qualification, Sam was ready for his first interview – and what a surprise that turned out to be…

“When I walked into the interview I saw one of my old deputy principals [Sheryl],” Sam recalls.

“She started the interview by asking me “didn’t I suspend you once?”

Sheryl immediately could see the change in Sam – and he was offered the job!

“He’s obviously had people invest a lot in him. He’s had strong mentors and role models who have developed strong values in him.”

As a chappy, Sheryl says the positive impact Sam is having on the school is massive.

“He has out-stripped all of our expectations – he is amazing”, Sheryl says.

“Working in conjunction with the rest of our support services team, he is really connecting with our young students who are disengaged in the classroom – the ones who struggle to make friends and don’t really want to be at school.

“From that young person who was probably a bit lost as a student, he’s had adults feed into his life, and I think that’s fed his passion to feed into the lives of young people today. He wants to see the change in them like he experienced.”

Your support changed the course of Sam’s life – and now he’s being a positive presence for the students, staff and parents at Beaudesert State High School.

If you love working with children and young people, and you’re looking for a career with meaning and purpose, or you know someone who is, then school chaplaincy may be calling you.

To learn more, visit suqld.org.au/morehands

Samuel Moore

Digital Media and Communications Coordinator

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