Where are they now – Sam Brayshaw (SPC 2000-05)

May 22, 2020

The College recently reconnected with Sam Brayshaw (SPC 2000-05) who is loving his work as a group manager for the AFL Cape York House Foundation Groote Eylandt Transition Program, which helps remote Indigenous students access education in Cairns. The recent coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the program, with video calling recently becoming the norm, but Sam and the students are both looking forward to returning to normal classes next term.

Check Sam out in this YouTube video which explains more about the program.

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

Sam Brayshaw and wife Bianca at the northernmost point of Australia last year.

Sam Brayshaw.

Since finishing at SPC in 2005 and then studying Geology at Federation University, I pursued a career as a geologist and various other mining positions within a number of mining companies. This took me to regional and remote mine across Victoria, WA, NSW, SA and finally Cape York in QLD. I retrained as a teacher in Cairns and graduated in 2015, no doubt in small part due to the positive impressions that my previous teachers had left on me as a student. Currently, I coordinate education transition programs within AFL Cape York House, an all-Indigenous boarding facility in Cairns servicing communities from Cape York, Torres Strait, Gulf and the NT Top End. I’m thoroughly enjoying this challenging role and often get to experience community life with our students.
My wife Bianca and I have “tropically” lived in Cairns for the past five years and we are very much looking forward to announcing the birth of our first born in the coming weeks.


How is the coronavirus presently affecting your work and industry?

The beautiful views from the remote communities.

As our students at AFL Cape York House come from remote communities with high risk people, travel in and out for these communities has been almost nil, including for school. Thus we are currently communicating with students via Video Calling to continue schooling. Students are upbeat about returning to Cairns next term.



What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

Beginning at SPC in the new millennium, there are many fond memories of upon the grounds of SPC. It is the friendship and collaborations with students and staff throughout my schooling at the College that are prominent in the front of my mind. Boat Race comradery, Herald-Sun Shield support at the MCG, Hockey teams, Year 9 Camp at the Grampians and of course the flagship SPC sport, the 2005 Croquet premiership winning team.


Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you and how has your time at SPC shaped your personal values?

Sam Brayshaw enjoying his work.

My role at AFL Cape York House is required to build profound relationships with students to overcome the pressures of schooling in a place far away from home. Finding philosophy for building these relationships pushed me to reflect deeply into my own schooling and looking for the willingness, energy and empathy within those whom built relationships with me. One that was particularly centered in my mind from my schooling at SPC (and St Alipius) was Peter Brady.

Peter’s ability to build a great teacher-student relationship, and now as an indirect mentor, is in my mind no doubted the springboard that launched me through secondary school to where I currently find myself. His efforts now make a difference to unseen generations of my students. Peter sums up what it is to be a great teacher, something I continue to aspire to.


How has your education shaped your professional life?

When I look back at my time at SPC it really set up the foundation for my careers. It was a supportive environment where you were given every opportunity to follow your passions. You were instilled with not only curriculum related education, but that of pastoral care and life skills such as relationship building, which has enabled me to connect with a wide range of people during and since leaving the College. It has been fantastic to continue many of these relationships since 2005, and even reconnect with people from the College in more recent times. It doesn’t matter how far and wide you go, there seems to be Old Patty boys and staff everywhere. It will forever be a place I look upon with great appreciation and fond memories.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

There are so many pieces of advice I’d like to pass on and I don’t think one is enough, however below are three of my key messages to today’s students.

Firstly…Work for something bigger than yourself. Give yourself to a cause, be passionate about issues and become well-read in an area. You’ll find it more rewarding when you work for the betterment of something beyond your own life and it’ll take you further in your life and career.

Second… Be the most hopeful person in the room, the person with the most hope in the room is the person with the most influence. Be the person who finds a way through or solves the problem. The person who makes the difference is usually the one who believes it can be done. Hope brings creativity, optimism. It’s what the best people convey all the time, especially under pressure.

Third … Do the small things really well, people will notice your attitude and demeanour when it comes to these small things. They will watch to see how you treat people and the tasks in your life, so don’t be slack with the little things.

And fourth… There is a Chinese proverb ‘Reading thousands of books is not as good as traveling thousands of miles’. Get out, see the world, see how others do things…