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Meet Mr Ricky: The staff member bringing joy and support to Calwell High School

19 Sep 2023

Students with Mr Ricky the Labrador dog

Calwell High School's beloved therapy dog, Mr Ricky, has quickly become an integral part of the school community, spreading happiness and support and earning the esteemed title of Deputy Principal of Happiness. Since his arrival in late March 2023, Mr Ricky has exceeded all expectations, making a significant impact on the students, staff, and families at Calwell High School.

Principal Steve Collins, recognising the power of therapy dogs in promoting student wellbeing, eagerly sought to bring Mr Ricky to the school. In mid-2022, Mr Collins submitted an application for a therapy dog, with the hope of fostering a positive and supportive environment. The successful outcome of the application filled the halls of Calwell High School with anticipation and excitement.

At just two years old, Mr Ricky arrived at the school trained by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, ready to embark on his journey of spreading joy and comfort. Since his first day, Mr Ricky has been a daily presence, bringing smiles to everyone he encounters. He spends his days traversing the hallways, visiting classrooms, and responding to signs of anxiety by offering a reassuring paw on the lap, a gesture that can brings comfort to those in need.

Mr Ricky's role as Deputy Principal of Happiness extends far beyond individual support. He has been included in the students' wellbeing plans, an honour bestowed upon him by the students themselves. Collaborating with the School Psychologist, Social Worker, and School Youth Health Nurse, Mr Ricky has proven to be a calming and supportive presence during important sessions and discussions.

Mr Ricky's has taken the initiative to visit incoming year 7 students from local primary schools, warmly welcoming them into the Calwell High family. His presence during the transition period has helped ease the anxieties of these young students, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort as they embark on their high school journey.

Furthermore, Mr Ricky's has graciously served as a model in the photography class, patiently posing for students' artistic endeavours. During cross-country, he actively participated as an enthusiastic class member, inspiring students to push their physical boundaries.

Thanks, Mr Ricky, for welcoming students each new day with renewed optimism and an unwavering commitment to student happiness and success.