WHEN Surf Coast Secondary College’s wellbeing coordinator Peter Raidme was asked by the school’s principal to invite a guest speaker with a sporting background to this year’s valedictory dinner, he knew exactly who to call.
A role model both on and off the field, Torquayborn Port Adelaide skipper Travis Boak flew from his Adelaide home soon after his former school footy coach handballed him the idea.
“I just knew, I’ve got to check in with Trav,” Mr Raidme said.
“He said ‘no worries’ and his schedule was freed up. After getting permission from the club to head down, it was locked in.”
Coaching Boak when he was a kid isn’t the only connection Mr Raidme has to the AFL star, with the wellbeing co-ordinator being an old friend of the footballer’s late father, Roger Boak, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2005.
Though the 30-year-old footballer grew up on the Surf Coast, attending high school in his hometown wasn’t possible, as Torquay’s inaugural secondary school – Surf Coast Secondary College – opened its doors six years ago.
Mr Raidme said Boak addressed the college’s graduating students in a powerful speech that focused on family values and the importance of giving back to the community, while also paying tribute to the mentors who have enriched his life.
“He’s Torquay born and bred, so there was a real sense of connection in the room. It was a really special night.
“He spoke about being a quiet kid in high school and how developing his skills through football gave him the confidence to be a leader.”
He also noted Boak’s extensive resume goes beyond his sporting achievements, highlighting his commitment to raising funds for cancer research after losing his father the year before he was drafted.
An ambassador for the Barwon Health Foundation, Boak’s ongoing work for the Andrew Love Cancer Centre alongside his family and friends has raised significant funds for the Geelong-based cancer facility where his father received treatment.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better guest speaker.
He really blew them away,” Mr Raidme said.
Boak’s mother Chicki – who works at Torquay College – was thrilled to see her son presenting to many of her former students, making the night one to remember for all.