Junee High School says it has bolstered its support services with the addition of its first ever chaplain.
Lucas King’s appointment comes after a joint push from school principal Scott Frazier and the Junee Christian Education Association.
Mr Frazier said he pursued the venture after witnessing the benefits of chaplaincy during his time at Temora High School.
“It’s certainly a beneficial support role and while chaplains do come from a religious background, they aren’t here to promote that,” he said.
The Junee Christian Education Association will fund Mr King’s weekly visits along with the school, due to the National Schools Chaplaincy Program funding being set to run out in 2018.
Mr King, a former high school teacher with 12 years of youth work experience, said there were many misconceptions surrounding the nature of chaplaincy.
“I’m not a counsellor, I’m there as a mentor for students, staff and the whole school community,” he said.
“My main role is to be that listening ear.
“But if I do think anyone needs counselling or anything that’s beyond my expertise, I’m trained to refer them to the correct people.”
Mr King said chaplaincy was a valuable service which would complement the school's existing support and counselling staff.
“There are times where students feel like they can't - or don't want to - talk to a counsellor or a teacher.
“Often they find a chaplain allows them to share things they wouldn’t otherwise.”
“Sometimes students may not actually need a counsellor, they’ll just be feeling sad and need some support, and if they do see a counsellor anyway they can feel like they’re being ‘fixed’.”
Mr King is at Junee High School every Friday.