From struggling students to top of their classes

GOLD ACT: Aaron Towle and Kayla Leonard were both proud to have received the gold award in their year level.
GOLD ACT: Aaron Towle and Kayla Leonard were both proud to have received the gold award in their year level. Melanie Keyte

FOR plenty of young people, getting through the school day can be a struggle.

They may be the victim of bullying, experience learning difficulties or come from severely broken homes.

These are the kids who act out and are pigeon-holed as "naughty kids” at school, often at a disadvantage to their own and their peers' learning.

It's for these kids the Salvation Army designed its Sunshine Coast Individualised Learning and Support program, which supplements smaller class sizes with youth workers to tailor the students' learning so they can not only progress in their education, but enjoy it.

Last week, two students in particular were recognised at a special awards ceremony for their successes.

Kayla Leonard, who received a gold award alongside peer Aaron Towle, said her past year in the program had made a drastic improvement to her grades and her attitude.

"I wasn't doing very well in mainstream school. I was failing math and thought it was useless,” she said.

"But having everyone support me, the youth workers and the teachers, opened my eyes to who I am and what I can achieve.”

The 16-year-old, who graduated the year with As, said she was aiming to enrol in a Bachelor of Education and Social Work once she finished school.

"I want to make people smile,” she said.

"(This program) has changed everything. It's changed my perspective on life and the way I contribute to society.”

Salvation Army captain Daniel Ross said he was proud of all the students who graduated their respective year levels this year, and expected many parents would feel similarly.

Topics:  education salvation army school students

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