School is not their only learning place

Canon Boggo Pilot Hostel students
Published
Wed, 20/12/2023

AHL’s secondary education students are encouraged and supported to participate in extracurricular activities – an important source of social contact and personal development.

At Canon Boggo Pilot Hostel on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, students come from across the Torres Strait.

When they arrive, they don’t know many people. Hostel staff encourage their students to become involved in extra-curricular activities.

Joining the Australian Navy Cadets and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Cadets are popular program options for the students. Sixteen of the students are Navy Cadets and 4 are both Navy and QFES Cadets.

Of course, hostel staff also encourage students to join in other after-school activities such as Young Endeavour and sports.

They also enjoy the chance to show their skills.

On 29 July 2023, 4 hostel students competed in the annual Cadet Games in Townsville against teams from the QFES Cadets, Rural Fire Service, Australian Navy, Army or Air Force Cadets and Military Cadets for the title of Ultimate Cadet Crew.

Our Canon Boggo students came an impressive third place, in a field of 16 teams. The quartet impressed the judges with some precision marching that included a traditional warup (drum).

Their talents caught the attention of the media and were interviewed for television news.

Annual events for selected cadets include the Cadet Games in Townsville and cadet camp in Melbourne.

According to Head of Boarding at Canon Boggo Irene Laifoo, the students thrive in these groups, developing new skills, building confidence and making new friends.

Irene said, ‘they also learn to work as part of a team and benefit from the self-discipline and physical coordination that comes from training, such as swimming, marching and basic skills.

‘This gives them more confidence to participate in other activities, such as cultural performances. And, the basic skills they learn can be transferred back home to their families and siblings.’ 

Joining the Navy Cadets also allows students to be part of a Torres Strait Island connection, dating back to the Second World War.

In 1941, Australia’s First Nations army battalion, the Torres Strait Light Infantry (1941–46), was formed to defend the northern tip of Queensland and the Torres Strait.

Today, the TS Carpentaria Joint Defence Facility on Thursday Island is home to a Navy Cadet unit that often leads the ANZAC Day parade on the island.

Several students are keen to join the Royal Australian Navy when they graduate.