New Aboriginal Sporting Academy begins

ACADEMY AWARD: The SAASTA students Kelsey Grigg (left) and Rourke Young as they receive the Training Award.
ACADEMY AWARD: The SAASTA students Kelsey Grigg (left) and Rourke Young as they receive the Training Award.

The South East South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy has been established for the first time this year. 

The programs runs every Thursday at Mount Gambier High School during regular school hours and is open to students in Years 10-12.

The Academy was the recipient of several South East Secondary Training Awards in 2018 and despite being a new program, it is based on the successful engagement and learning outcomes being demonstrated. 

The focus of the Academy is on students engaging with culture and community in order to develop leadership skills and confidence as well as achieve SACE credits in Integrated Learning, Aboriginal Studies, Scientific Studies and the Certificate III in Sport and Recreation.

Sport is seen as a vehicle through which the program is delivered but it is not the sole focus and the students involved are not pressured to be brilliant sporting stars.

There are three times when the students are away, with the first week in June being for the Aboriginal Power Cup. 

This is a week long training block at the end of terms 1-3 and a two day carnival for the SAASTA Shield dates which are to be announced. 

Students have engaged so far with local Boandik Elders, Aunty Michelle, Jaqueline-Furr and Uncle Ken Jones. 

These, along with Ngarrindjeri Elder Uncle Doug Nicholls, local Boandik Artist, Belinda Bonney, UniSA Aboriginal Pathways Program Manager and Mount Gambier Councillor Mark Lovett, Danielle Ashford from Pangula Mannamurna, local GPs and representatives from GTE and MAS have worked hard to establish a strong foundation based on the Academy values of creating opportunities for future generations, being strong and proud leaders as well as having control over their futures. 

Kelsey Grigg is but one who has consistently demonstrated the Academy values, as she travels from Naracoorte every week and demonstrates commitment as well as persistence within her learning. 

Ms Grigg is an excellent team player who encourages, motivates and has high expectations of herself and her team mates. 

Another student who has demonstrated commitment to the Academy values through the requirements of the Certificate III Sport and Recreation is Rourke Young. 

Mr Young has been consistently referring to the training information and his coach in order to give him the best possible advice and support to the team. 

Being diligent and positive, with excellent leadership skills when interacting with the younger people in the Academy, Mr Young is seen as a strong and confident leader in the Academy’s first year. 

This has been such an important factor in establishing the Academy so it will be around for many years, with Mr Young’s efforts being greatly appreciated. 

Those involved would like to extend their appreciation to all who have and continue to support the Academy in making a strong foundation of opportunity within the community. 

Many thanks are sent to Andrew Smith and the team at SAASTA for facilitating the opportunity, Chris Edmonds and his staff at Mount Gambier High School for hosting the program as well as Fleur Roachock and her team at Grant High School for their tireless support and encouragement.