Running the Race: A personal interview with a teacher from one of the top schools in Cairns

Sport at Freshwater: A community-building opportunity in our local school in Cairns

Sport has a way of bringing people together, teaching values, inspiring hope and fostering a sense of belonging. It is no surprise to hear that sporting events are among the fondest memories most people have of their schooling days. Here at Freshwater Christian College, sport has always been an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of others, a way to build a supportive and encouraging community and a chance to get involved and have a go! You might not know that Mr Caleb DeVries, the head of Sport and HPE at Freshwater, attended our school as a student. Our team caught up with him recently to share some of his favourite memories of our school in Cairns.

past student from leading school in cairns

Students Jack and Adam from our Student Anniversary Committee with Mr DeVries in the College Sports Centre.

What years did you attend Freshwater Christian College as a student? (Don’t worry, we won’t try to work out how old you are!)

I attended the school from 1991 in year 4 until I graduated in 1999.

What are some of your favourite memories of being here as a student?

There are too many great memories to list. One great memory I have is competing in the high jump every Athletics Carnival and at the district carnival. One year when I was injured and could not compete in the high jump, I was completely devastated! Ha Ha! I also have great memories of the school camp to Fitzroy Island and all of the sports I used to play during lunch times.

Do you have any funny stories from your time here?

One funny story that comes to mind is of one Cross Country race. The track used to go out to the sugar cane fields, where the highway is now. One year the creek was flowing fast and the kids had to cross the creek. Kids were losing their shoes and almost getting swept away. Thankfully everyone survived that race.

Were there any particular teachers at our school that inspired you to become a teacher?

One pivotal point in my school life was when I had my dad, Mr Hank De Vries, as my classroom teacher in year 6. Before this, I was an average student but this was the first time I really found my passion for learning, as learning was made fun and adventurous. Another teacher that inspired me was my Senior HPE teacher, Mr Terry Close. I was inspired to choose HPE teaching as my career with him as a great role model. 

When did you start working at Freshwater Christian College? What made you want to come back and work here?

I started working here in 2007 for two years. I went out and worked in Ed QLD for six years and then returned here in 2015. I feel that Freshwater Christian College is my home and I have a strong connection to this school. My motivation is seeing our students thrive, gaining confidence in themselves to step out of their comfort zone and realise their God-given gifts.

In what ways has the college changed during your time here?

The college has changed in many ways since I was here. Our facilities have upgraded in a major way and it is great to see us continue to grow. When I was at school, the basketball court was where the library is now. The roof was so low that to shoot a basket from the side, you had to shoot over a metal beam for the ball to go in.

volley ball at school in cairns

Mr DeVries coaching Inter-school Volley Ball Team.

What are your hopes for the future of Freshwater?

Freshwater is one of the leading schools in Cairns. My hope is that Freshwater continues to grow, but does not lose its amazing character and Christ-centred ethos. I hope, from a sports perspective, that our teams continue to get out and compete and our students challenge themselves to be their best.

Who is the best team in the school? (Definitely the sharks right?)

BARRAS all the way!!

This interview was conducted by our Student Anniversary Committee who have been working very hard gathering our College history to celebrate our 40th Anniversary.

Our Student Anniversary Committee.


Want to know more about one of the top schools in Cairns, Freshwater Christian College?

Local Cairns school, Freshwater Christian College is a private independent Christian school in Cairns, located centrally in Brinsmead. With a Kindergarten, Primary School and High School all on one campus, our College offers convenience with a village feel community. Our safe and nurturing community has a passion to raise future leaders who love God and pursue their God-given talents. Join us for a College tour to experience our community for yourself. Book a Principal’s Tour today.

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