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We can’t wait to get back – Ataya

This whole experience has made me truly appreciate what I had and how quickly things can change…

By Ataya Pearson (Yarrabah), Year 12, Kirwan State High School

When we first heard we were going home a week early, my first thought was: “Great! We’re getting an extra week of school holidays!”

Lost in my own excitement, I had no idea what was about to happen to me, let alone around the world.

Three weeks home and the holiday excitement wore off very quickly. My three siblings and I quickly became bored. Study and school back at NRL Cowboys House were looking a whole lot more interesting.

Even my brother Cooper in Year 9, who only thinks and talks football, was wanting to go to school and study!

While it’s nice to be with family, it’s not easy stuck indoors 24/7.

My sister Chasidy and I love to shop until we drop, however during the holidays, the only dropping was when we fell off to sleep from boredom or one too many movies or games! Home schooling was looking very exciting.

Ataya studying hard

However, the novelty wore off quickly as we faced the challenges of one computer, limited data and packages coming by snail mail.

Luckily, we were having some fun and keeping great connection with the House parents and the education team who were phoning, emailing and sending us hilarious videos of the staff pretending to be us.

Surely we don’t look that bad or are that hard to get out of bed or get to study!

This connection has helped me greatly as I have also been sad. I’ve been missing my House and school friends.

I waited eleven years to be in Year 12, wear the Year 12 jersey and go to the school formal and I wondered if that had all gone.

Good communication with the House has helped me to know it is all going to be okay.

Studying with brother Cooper

Videos and photos on the House platform have also helped to let us know what our House friends are doing. Some of the fish they’re catching are bigger than me! Meanwhile, the House fitness challenge is Cooper’s dream and my nightmare…

Life changed dramatically when the Education team was able to transport a couple of computers to us, enabling Chasidy and I to work independently. Receiving the computer has eased my anxiety, as I’ve been worried about what was going to happen with my QCE. Would I be graduating? Would I still be able to apply to go to university?

I’m now able to get online to school and to the House. The Education team is zooming in each morning to assist with my academic work and I can work through any issues face to face.

We’ve connected a few times with the other House Year 12 girls and that’s been fun to catch up with them.

Sister Chasidy

My brother Cooper is working through the paper copies that Mum printed off from the House online platform and now that Chasidy has a computer, she’s working online through her school. At the rate work is coming online, maybe a bit of boredom would be okay!

This whole experience has made me truly appreciate what I had and how quickly things can change.

I wake up each day and I’m grateful for the little things like the outdoors, the freedom to shop, to go to school and to have my family safe.

I now know just how much the staff and Education team at NRL Cowboys House are prepared to do for me and how much I miss them, along with my brothers and sisters at the House.

While we love Mum and it has been good family time, we can’t wait to get back to the House.

Ataya and Chasidy receive their study packs

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