Former international rugby league player Stanley Gene visited Bruntcliffe Academy recently to give a talk on his upbringing and his career.
Stanley described growing up in a tiny village in Papua New Guinea where life is very different to what we experience here in the UK.
He talked to staff and students about the village where he and his family settled in huts made of wood, straw and bamboo.
He also described the daily 20 minute walk to retrieve water from a nearby creek and how his parents had insisted that he get an education so he could break the mould and one day go on to become a teacher.
During the visit, Stanley spoke of family traditions including the feasts that occur whenever he returns home and the charity he has set up in order to provide youngsters with more opportunities in the remote villages of PNG.
The teaching route became redundant when Stanley was scouted whilst playing in the 1995 World Cup for Papua New Guinea and signed his first professional contract for Hull Kingston Rovers shortly after.
Since then he has represented Hull FC, Featherstone Rovers, Gateshead, Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield and his home country on countless occasions.
A spokesperson from the school said: “Needless to say, Stanley is a legend of the game both in PNG and over here in the UK.
“One of Stanley’s first major purchases, when he became a professional player, was the plumbing required to transport water up from the local creek to his village in Segu.
“During his visit, he took the opportunity to deliver coaching sessions to GCSE PE students.
“He said afterwards what excellent players they were and was thoroughly impressed with the positive attitudes and eagerness of the Bruntcliffe students.”
The spokesperson added: “What was so impressive about Stanley, was not his rugby league career, but his humility and transparency as a human being.
“It was clear that he is a hard worker, and knowing how he used to play his rugby, it is obvious that he is a tough guy.
“He was able to pass on sincere messages about these qualities.
“I am confident that he has helped to instil a sense of pride and professionalism in our students.”