An innovative teacher is using rugby league to boost student outcomes in the classroom and to bring together the community of Marsden State High School.
Matthew Hartigan is on a mission to make Marsden the best rugby league school in Australia.
“Being the best for me is about more than just winning the National Schoolboy Competition, it's about continuing to help the students to fulfil an academic pathway,” Mr Hartigan said.
In his role as Success Coach, Mr Hartigan frequently meets with students to discuss the value of academic achievement and to encourage good behaviour. He teaches students that there’s a direct correlation between discipline, good habits, and your performance on the field.
“Once they’re able to see how rugby league and education link, I’m then able to maintain positive and enthusiastic conversation with the students to motivate them to achieve their best,” Mr Hartigan said.
“For me, seeing a student complete a degree at university or a trade at TAFE is just as rewarding as seeing a student go on to play in the NRL.”
“From the moment I arrived I made it clear that I wanted to create good people first. This philosophy is built on the back of a clear focus on attendance, academics and behaviour.”
Mr Hartigan has engaged several community groups including the local football club, Police-Citiziens Youth Club (PCYC), Blue Edge Training Program and the Brisbane Broncos, and has secured significant funds and support in sponsorship for the school’s rugby league program.
He also works with local feeder primary schools and student families to organise events that support students during their transition to high school. Teachers and families in the community are encouraged to come along to school rugby games as a way to network and learn more about the environment their children are learning in.
Congratulations Mr Hartigan on being named a finalist for the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to School Community Award.