Walters in league of his own
IT has been almost 30 years since Steve Walters set foot inside a classroom as a student.
But the Ipswich rugby league legend – not long ago recognised as the best hooker in the game – had no reservations about meeting and greeting students at Bundamba State Secondary College yesterday.
As part of his “Principal for a Day” responsibilities, the former Australian Kangaroo and Queensland State of Origin player congratulated the high school’s new band of leaders, including school captains and vice-captains, in an induction ceremony.
Mr Walters was raised and schooled in Ipswich, attending Ipswich East State School from the early 1970s, then attending Bremer High in years eight, nine and 10 before finishing his secondary school years at Ipswich Boys Grammar in 1982.
“I enjoyed both Bremer and Grammar even though they were very different sorts of schools.”
Mr Walters said his first move as principal would be to lobby for a pay rise for teachers.
“Plus a bit more super and a couple of extra days off,” he said.
Jokes aside, school principal Andrew Peach said Mr Walters was the perfect example for students of what they could achieve if they worked hard.
“It is great for the school and a great opportunity to continue the good work that has been done with the Former Origin Greats Program,” Mr Peach said.
Mr Walters has played an important role in mentoring indigenous students through the FOGS program, which has involved regular visits to several secondary schools in Ipswich.
“We’ve got an art program through FOGS to help the indigenous kids get some better outcomes at school,” he said.
“We have some sports mentors that come out and talk to them, with a few incentives and rewards to encourage them academically.”
Although they are a bit young to remember seeing him in action, Bundamba’s 2011 leaders were certainly aware of Mr Walters’ career and the importance of having him working with the school.
Mr Walters is a manager with the current Queensland State of Origin team, working alongside his long-time friend and former Canberra Raiders teammate Mal Meninga.
“My team, the Raiders, is looking good this year, so I’m really looking forward to the 2011 season,” he said.
“The game is always evolving but I think it is for the better – the standard of the players and teams is very close and the standard of competition is getting better and better.”