The Glenleighden School – Past Student Story

Good Afternoon my name is Sam, I am the 2nd child of Sarah and Trevor Smith, and I went to Glenleighden from 1996 to the end of 1997. My time in with Glenleighden was when I was a child so everything I remember is as a child sees the world. I was made to eat tomatoes being my least favourite memory, but I had a lot of good memories as well. I had friends, I did sign language, used the thrass chart, played games or test, it was normality for me.

When I left Glenleighden I went to schools, I played, I made friends but I discovered a piece of me the beach. It just resonates with me everything I have done some way or another has been with the beach or water. All my life I started nippers in Bundaberg moving to dicky beach and continued onwards to lifesaving. I also partook in swimming, water polo, have done sailing, snorkelling, and love surfing.

Luckily for me when we moved from Bundaberg we ended up on beach central the Sunshine Coast Caloundra. I spent the rest of academic life there from grade 4 up. In primary school I was highly active worked hard academically and took on the roles of vice school captain and vice sports house captain in year 7. Year 7 was also the year I got my first state medal in nippers a gold in the Cameron relay with 3 of my team mates.


High school was a big step for me I went from a school with over 700 kids to 1500 teenagers my grade alone had 300. Academically it got harder but I coped. Year 10 I really struggled but was fortunate enough to have great friends and teachers to pull me through.

In the last 2 years I really stepped up I had more than 10 state lifesaving medals across the board of surf sports, surf rescue, and irbs. In first aid competition I had collected 2 bronze medals for U17 and U19 the same year and finished of the season by receiving my clubs Josh Mill’s Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Youth. Academically I did great in year 11 actually the best, I had good peers, had the teachers I wanted and was just ticking all the boxes. I even got to go on the schools community trip to Fiji for 10 days, it was what I had always wanted to do since I got to high school. I finished year 11 with mainly B’s and was elected Sports Captain for 2008/2009.

Year 12 I really found I needed to rely on myself and show initiative for my duties to my school, and my surf club. I was very busy when I wasn’t organising sports captain matters I was at the beach surfing or getting involved in surf lifesaving. Academically I suffered finishing the year with an OP of 16, I had lost that balance that I had had in year 11. The year wasn’t a total loss though, I had received from my school full blue awards in sports and community, a leadership award, and a Queensland Order of Australia Student Citizenship Award. For my extensive involvement in the school, lifesaving, and particularly my sole organisation of a swim group to partake in the Mudjimba Charity Swim. An 11km swim from Mudjimba to Mooloolaba all proceeds going towards the Currimundi and Nambour special schools.

Afterwards I was forced into a gap year in Melbourne for about 9 months due to dad’s work. Melbourne wasn’t my favourite place in the world it was cold even in summer, the beach was a no go without a steamer, hood, boot and gloves, and my best friends were all back here on the sunshine coast I felt isolated. I must mention though that there were positives. I spent more time with my family then I have ever done in my life, I tried different pathways for instance a chef apprenticeship trial where I learnt it was not for me and instead gain my qualification as a swim teacher/instructor. The day dad told me there was a possibility of us returning to the sunshine coast I packed my  bag and was ready to move home. August that year I returned a month before the rest of the family had made the move. In just that month I had gained a job a swim teacher, had joined up with my surf club Dicky Beach once more and enrolled for the summer program at the University of the Sunshine Coast TPP Tertiary Preparation Pathway an alternate entrance into university.

This year I am 21 years of age, I finally got my red P’s at the start of February. I am in my second year of university now transferred from Sport and Exercise Program to an Education and Science Program majoring in PE and minoring in Mathematics. My goal is to be a teacher, I know now I am just meant to work with kids. I love the youth side of my club, my job as a swim teacher plus involvement as nipper swim coach is very rewarding, and assisting with friend’s extracurricular programs for programs. It is just one of those things that click for me like the beach and surf I just naturally can work with kids. To top it off for this year so far just last weekend passed I competed at Aussie Titles for IRB Inflatable Rescue Boat Racing making the finals after 2 days racing finishing top 7 in the mass rescue race.

This speech and process I have gone though has been very enlightening and overwhelming. Everything I do remember or knew I have a new perspective of understanding. The thing I cannot thank my parents enough for is normality. It is a huge credit to them cause I didn’t feel any different which is all kids want really, is to feel the same as everyone else. Understand what Glenleighden has provided me and to think if I hadn’t had those building blocks to start me off my lifestyle could have been a lot different to what it has been.

Thank You

Share the knowledge...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInGoogle+Pin on Pinterestshare on TumblrEmail to someoneShare on RedditDigg this