A welcome return visitor to Parade College's Preston Campus recently was the dynamic St Kilda midfielder/forward Jade Gresham, a final year student of the College in 2015.
Jade is pictured here with, from left, the Preston Campus' Sport Prefect Che Watson, Director Pathways and Old Paradians' Association committeeman John Nicholls and the campus' other Sport Prefect Liam Smith, following Jade's presentation of his No.4 guernsey famously worn by the club's former champions of the craft Darrel Baldock and Tony Lockett.
A sizeable audience of 140 students were present in the Penola Theatre when Jade handed over the guernsey for future display in the campus foyer. He then answered a number of questions from the floor before signing autographs and posing for photographs with the boys.
Taken with the Saints' selection 18 in the 2015 National Draft and now 77 senior matches into his on-field career, Jade has always found time to give back to his old school for which the College and the Old Paradians' Association is truly thankful.
John Nicholls recalled that in 2013 Jade joined the Preston campus to commence the ERPPP and in 2014-2015 completed VCAL with a focus on plumbing and sport and recreation.
"We were very keen to support Jade in his quest to be drafted through his Year 12 year. I had a number of AFL clubs keen on Jade contact me doing their due diligence," John said.
"I was happy to report that Jade was a good student and participated positively in all College activities. I was also happy to report that he was not a big head at all. He was humble and rarely spoke of his football achievements."
John added that Jade's teachers would have commented that he was playful, always respectful and was one who always followed directions given - traits not lost on the inquiring League recruiters.
"Every club official spoke of an appreciation of Jade’s football ability, but wanted to be sure that Jade had the right personal qualities - his attendance levels, his level of cooperation, how he might have responded to challenges or difficulties at school, how he was as a team player in the VCAL group and how he interacted with staff and fellow students," John said.
"I was happy enough to say he ticked all those boxes and that he was, in employment terms, very’ coachable’.
"We at Parade are very proud of Jade. He is a wonderful ambassador of the game and now another OP - one of more than 100 to have played VFL/AFL football."