Patrick changes life with tuition success



PATRICK Zimmerlie up at the crack of dawn ready to start work at the Gladstone Schools Engineering Skills Centre (GSESC) last Monday.

Patrick, 15, just graduated from Gladstone Tutorial Centre but only six months ago he was nearly excluded not only from his school ? Tannum Sands State High School ? but from all the schools in the region.

In year 9, his literacy was at a year 5 level, and he had given up learning.

Frustrated at his situation, Patrick became violent and his behaviour saw him in constant trouble. "Even when I tried to be good, nobody gave me a chance,'' Patrick said.

'I was very frustrated. I was always in trouble and no one listened to me.'

Changing schools to start afresh, Patrick's reputation followed him.

His mum, Deborah Zimmerlie, was nearly 'ripping her hair out' and as a last resort enrolled Patrick in the Gladstone Tutorial Centre.

In 18 weeks his literacy rate advanced 36 months. On June 9 he graduated from the Centre, and it's now hard to tell who is prouder, Debbie or Patrick.

'To attend his graduation was great, I still nearly cry,' Debbie said.

Recently a health check revealed the root of Patrick's problems at school ? a hearing problem had caused him to fall behind.

He said because Gladstone Tutorial Centre gave him a chance and more attention, he won awards such as best speller and was now the first year 10 student to start the Gladstone Schools Engineering Skills Centre program.

'I'm not violent any more because I can do my work,' Patrick said.

'I feel better, happier with myself because I've accomplished something.'

When he found out he had been accepted into the Gladstone Schools Engineering Skills Centre, Patrick was thrilled and said he went straight out and bought work clothes.

Gladstone Tutorial Centre founder Chris Tanner was proud of Patrick's achievements and pleased for him.

It's the centre's fifth year and 150 students have been through the program.

Mr Tanner said they had all been successful because they had all greatly improved upon their arrival.

'It's very rewarding ? it's the best thing I've ever done in my life,' Mr Tanner said.

Patrick's goal is to complete a Certificate 1 in Engineering at the end of the year.



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