All it took for Harry Pellagreen to apply himself at school was finding his passion and a more practical approach to learning.
He never saw himself as academic student in his younger years of high school, in fact he hated it and wanted to drop out.
But after starting at Five Islands Secondary College and participating in the Big Picture Program in year nine onwards, Mr Pellagreen discovered his aptitude for the sport and fitness industry.
The program gave him a chance to try various types of apprenticeships, but he couldn't see himself doing any of them for the rest of his life.
Now Mr Pellagreen can't wait to start his Bachelor of Sport at the University of Wollongong next year.
The 18-year-old said he didn't get along with his teachers when he went to school in Sydney and just wanted to hang out with his mates but after enrolling at Five Islands he changed his way of thinking.
"The Big Picture Program opened up pathways and gave me days off to pursue different trades and find out what I was passionate about and interested in," he said. "Doing trades didn't suit me.
"The program allowed me to do different projects in the fitness industry and I fell in love with them.
"I enjoyed not being stuck in an English or History class learning about things I would never use again.
"I wasn't going to learn when teachers put information up on the board but I did when I went out and learnt myself. Then I improved academically."
Mr Pellagreen said the program did not focus on marks but students had to meet other criteria.
He said the school also helped him to get other qualifications in fitness.
"My knowledge areas improved a lot," he said. "I learn through practical means more than from a book."
Mr Pellagreen said he - like most students - was stressed about if he would get into university so he was overjoyed when UOW accepted him as an early entry applicant.
"I am really happy and excited to start my Bachelor degree," he said.
"I never felt as academically gifted as other students and I never thought I would go to university.
"But I released there is a number of pathways to get where you want."
Mr Pellagreen still doesn't know exactly what he wants to do for a career but is looking forward to learning and taking electives to find his area of passion.
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