ST BRIGID’S College sports co-ordinator Cameron Pickering breathed a sigh of relief when former student Darcy Tucker was selected by the Fremantle Dockers in the AFL national draft in November.
Having followed Tucker’s development as a young boy, there was a point where Mr Pickering thought he might have ruined the youngster’s chances at a professional career.
“I am particularly relieved that Darcy was drafted as I was the teacher in charge and first aider on an outdoor and environmental studies camp when Darcy slipped on a log and severely gashed his hamstring,” he said.
“At the time, we both thought it could have meant dire consequences for what was already promising to be a prosperous football career in 2013.”
Luckily for the new Docker and Mr Pickering, things worked out well in the end.
Tucker and former Melbourne Demon Rory Taggert returned to St Brigid’s College on New Year’s Day to update the school’s photos of the pair.
They join the likes of Mitch Creek, a basketballer for the Adelaider 36ers in the National Basketball League, and Jannik Blair, an Olympic wheelchair basketballer, who also adorn the walls of the school’s hall of fame.
Sydney Swan and former student Jake Lloyd was unavailable for the reunion, but his photo was in much less need of a change than others.
They're just scarily calm, confident and driven. They're really self-motivated.Cameron Pickering
Mr Pickering said it became apparent the photos of the youngsters from their school days were not quite appropriate when Tucker copped some flack in November at a North Ballarat Rebels fitness testing day in November.
“His teammates enjoyed ribbing him about the photo that was on display,” he said.
“It was from when he had represented Victoria as a year seven student, so we thought we needed to update it.”
For the school, the hall of fame is not about highlighting the significance of sport, but more about giving current students belief they can achieve their goals.
“It’s a bit of a focus to put more emphasis on these role models that have been educated through our school,” Mr Pickering said.
Mr Pickering wants students at the school on the cusp of achieving great things to believe their own dreams can be realised.
“Kids who can see a career path or if they’ve qualified for something, we want to encourage them to follow through with that,” he said.
“It’s a big effort for someone from Horsham to go interstate and miss a day of school to go that far.”
While many sporting stars move away from the Wimmera to achieve their goals, Mr Pickering highlighted Jake Lloyd as an example of someone who stayed at home, but was still able to succeed.
“We really love to hold him up on a pedestal. We want to show the kids they can make it to the elite level and stay in Horsham,” he said.
“What these former students have achieved on the sporting field, but particularly the calibre of people they have grown into, is something we are all very proud of.”