Travelling nearly the width of Queensland to attend NRL Cowboys House from opening day, the unique journey trod by foundation student Kody Rogers is one of determination and the courage to change his mind to find his calling.
Nearly 850km from his birthplace of Mornington Island, home to the Lardil (traditional owners), Yangkaal, Kaiadilt and Gangalidda people, Kody is in his final year at NRL Cowboys House and studying hard to one day attend university.
Having attended Ignatius Park College during the first three years of his stay at his ‘home away from home’, Kody moved his studies to trade school Tec-NQ to study automotive mechanics.
However, a late change in term 4, 2021 saw Kody return to traditional schooling at Heatley Secondary College to pursue new goals in tertiary education.
“NRL Cowboys House has worked with me when I have had to change schools and career plans, and I feel confident the House can help me when I need it,” Kody said.
“My new goals are to study Indigenous studies and physiotherapy at university.
“I’m not afraid to try new things and I know if I work hard I can achieve good things.”
Now a leader in his new school – earlier this year named Melton House Captain – Kody has proven his dedication to his studies, showing interest in applying for winter school with a desire to “try different things”.
His words are already being put into action as he studies hard to complete a Certificate II in workplace skills and outdoor recreation respectively, as well as a Certificate III in information, digital media and technology.
Working with the House’s Development Advancement Team, Kody is focusing on his goals and establishing clear pathways in the sports side of physiotherapy, ensuring his secondary education through Heatley State High School is tailored towards those goals.
His current school principal has described Kody as a “wonderful role model”, who is often seen helping younger students or demonstrating leadership both in and out of the classroom.
An NRL Cowboys House foundation student, Kody initially felt “worried” to move across the state to board at the House, but was heavily influenced and supported by his family and community to follow a new path.
“When I heard about NRL Cowboys House, I thought it would be a great opportunity and something that I wanted to be a part of… other boys from the community were also coming, so that made me feel comfortable,” he said.
“I have grown to be more confident and have learned to understand two worlds, community life and city life.
“The best part of the House is that all of us boys and staff are family, and we all look after each other.
"My family is proud and I think that younger people in the community can look up to me and not be scared to go away for school. I think that my family and community trust NRL Cowboys House.”
NRL Cowboys House general manager Rochelle Jones said Kody’s journey from day 1 at the House has been an example to other students.
“Kody is one of our students who started with us in our first year of opening, and it’s so exciting to share his whole of high school journey and see him now being selected for leadership roles in his school community,” she said.
“It’s really wonderful to see that as Kody has moved through secondary schooling, and as his goals have changed, we’ve been able to facilitate whatever direction Kody wants to take in life.
“The wrap around support model provided by the team at NRL Cowboys House not only supports academic growth, it supports holistic growth, and Kody has worked super hard and has really earned the respect of his teachers and peers.”