20 August 2018

Your support put these children in a league of their own

Posted in At-Risk / Chaplaincy / School life / Sports Ministry

When our children watch their rugby league heroes in action on the footy field, they don’t always see the best examples of how to conduct themselves.

Thanks to your support, one group of students at Eagleby State School are setting a great example for our highly paid superstars as part of a special rugby league program set up by their school chaplain, Nick Carroll.

“When I started as a school chaplain in 2012, I did all the pastoral care, but found it too reactive,” Chappy Nick recalls.

After speaking with the school’s principal, who suggested running some activity-based learning games, Nick felt inspired.

“We needed to be more proactive and give our students the necessary tools to work through life’s problems. Play-based learning activities helps achieve this,” he said.

“I set up games, which were open to everyone. You just had to be ready to give 100 per cent or the games wouldn’t work. It was really successful and I could see that it was empowering students to achieve more than they thought they could.”

After the initial success, Chappy Nick felt he could take this same concept and develop a rugby league program.

Following consultation with the school, Nick set about drafting a program to not only encourage students to be healthy and active, but equip them with life skills to help beyond the school yard.

Enlisting the help of the school PE teacher, Chappy Nick’s rugby league program was born.

“Each week we teach the students a different life skill based on the five keys to success: persistence, resilience, organisation, problem solving and teamwork. We also look at leadership and communication.”

“During training, if a student ‘plays up’ the whole team shares the punishment, which is usually push-ups. The students learn that we all share success and disappointments together,” Chappy Nick said.

After the initial shock the team formed a special bond.

“I deliberately make bad calls during practice games to teach the team how to handle that in a game or life situation. I tell the team that things aren’t always going to be easy and life isn’t always fair. People may lie to you, cheat you or let you down, but that doesn’t mean you quit.

“We practice last-minute scenarios in a game situation and the team has to remain calm and composed in a high pressure situation,” he said.

The program is now in its third year and last year the team made it to the semi-finals before going down in a tight game at the Helensvale 9’s tournament.

More importantly, each student represented their school, family and community with pride. While it’s not an achievement you’ll see in a trophy cabinet, it’s one that will remain in their hearts for a lifetime.

Your support for school chaplaincy makes these stories possible.

Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Jennifer Kerr

Media and Communications Administrator


  1. Fantastic! I’m now retired from Toowoomba East S.S. and worked with each chaplain, beginning with Chris Hunter, our very first. We focussed on the “Seasons for Growth” program ….. (grief and loss). Your work will have life-long benefits, in a world that is more focussed on shallower things.

  2. This sounds like an excellent initiative. Is Chappy able to share the procedure and inspire other chappies to develop similar programs?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.