Coast students kicking goals

Maya Jones with Beyond the Broncos Ambassador and Captain of the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL Women’s Premiership, Ali Brigginshaw.

Two Sunshine Coast high school students are kicking goals in class and the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy.

Sabre Barr from Maroochydore State High School and Maya Jones from Nambour State College were recently chosen to attend the prestigious 2021 NRL Indigenous Youth Summit.

The two Indigenous stars of the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy were recognised for their high attendance rate at school, commitment to education and the leadership they’ve shown amongst their peers.

The Year 11 Sunshine Coast girls were the only two students of the Girls Academy chosen to represent the Broncos at the Youth Summit, which was held in Sydney from 25-29 May.

The girls joined the Broncos program, which links cultural identity with academic achievement, late last year.

There are more than 1700 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls enrolled in this years’ Broncos Girls Academy, an initiative of the Brisbane Broncos to inspire, empower and assist with educational opportunities.

Sabre was excited to have been chosen to attend the summit and learn more about her culture.

“I think it is extremely valuable to listen and ultimately learn from our elders and from this I am hoping to be able to help others in my situation,” she said.

“My family only learnt a short time ago that we are from Indigenous decent. I have always supported the diverse range of groups at my school and now find that I am included in this very important family of people.

“I would like to be able to share my discussions and gain further knowledge of my heritage, and to look for opportunities in which I can contribute to my new community.”

Christine Halliwell, General Manager of Community & Government Programs at the Brisbane Broncos, said Sabre and Maya were wonderful role models for other young Indigenous women showcasing what could be achieved through hard work and determination.

“In a short time, we have seen the positive impact the Girls Academy has had on these students. Both girls have incredibly bright futures ahead of them and we are proud to see how seriously they are taking their education,” she said.

The week-long youth summit, facilitated by the National Rugby League (NRL) and Mirri Mirri, is designed to encourage youth to value their education and aspire to achieve meaningful employment, training or further education while embracing their unique culture and identity.

It enables participants like Sabre and Maya to interact with other young leaders through a series of workshops, activities and discussions.

Each NRL club nominates two Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students to attend the summit, which culminated in their attendance at the NRL Indigenous Round Wests Tigers Vs Dragons on Friday 28 May.

Mark deWeerd, General Manager of Indigenous Strategy with the NRL, said this year’s Indigenous Youth Summit empowered and inspired more than 60 young Indigenous men and women from across Australia.

The summit has been running for the past 10 years.The Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy has supported more than 4000 high school students since it was established in 2016.

It aims to improve school attendance, increase confidence and foster leadership.

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