New project keeps Josh in touch
By TONY WHITE
YEAR 12 Grafton High School student Josh Barber has embarked on what many would describe as a 'groovy' project that ideally combines academic achievement with his passion for sport.
Following discussions with teacher Simon Robertson and Aboriginal education assistant Andrew Taylor, a Daily Examiner 2004 Sports Star of the Year finalist, the 17-year-old elected to organise a touch football tournament, tagged the 'Reconciliation (mixed) Touch Football Competition' as his major project for Aboriginal studies in his HSC year.
"It counts 40 per cent towards my assesment mark," Josh said. "After talking to Mr Robertson and Andrew (Taylor) they said touch football is something I really enjoy so why not have a go.
"The idea is to bring Aboriginals and whites together for a competition, to mix and have a happy, fun day.
"All the kids think it's a great idea. The response from everyone, the schools, business houses, the council and other sporting organisations and players has been terrific."
The tournament will be held this Sunday at Lower Fisher Park.
"Cricket finals were scheduled for the same day but the Council and cricket people helped out greatly by changing the venues to allow us to use the grounds," Josh said.
"We've got about 14 teams from Grafton, Woolgoolga and Maclean. There's a good mix of young and older players.
"There's prizes and prizemoney involved, plenty of gifts and a free sausage sizzle at the end of the day."
Organising a sporting event takes dedication, acumen and plenty of hard work.
Since taking on the project, Josh has been out and about in the local community actively seeking sponsors, donations and participants.
"Yeah, it's been a bit harder than I first thought. It's a lot of work but overall it's been just great," he said.
"Heaps of people in the community have been really helpful. I'm very grateful for their support.
"The Hockey Association (Grafton) have allowed us to use the toilets and microphones and the Grafton Ghosts are going to run the canteen for the day."
An active touch football player, Barber plays three days a week in the Grafton touch competition, in Woolgoolga and in a mixed team with the Cangai Gooboorahs.
The teenager, like his 21-year-old brother Trent, also plays rugby league with his beloved Grafton Ghosts.
Trent is the Ghosts' first grade halfback and Josh plays for the Under-18s.
"I'd love to follow in his (Trent's) footsteps," Josh said proudly.
'Touch' wood, Barber is side-stepping his way towards a credible mark of achievement.