Academy squad learns from legends in Term 3

It’s been a big term for the Tjindu Foundation’s programs teams, which have been hard at work delivering the Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy and Tjindu STRONG programs in the community. 

The Academy has continued to play matches against school teams in the local community. After early season matches against Henley, Immanuel and Blackwood, the boys’ team claimed their first win against Nazareth College at the end of Term 3, while the girls’ team continued to play close and competitive matches against these schools’ female sides. 

But it’s been a term of ‘inspiration’ for the Academy team players, many of whom are preparing for their final assignments as secondary school students with the end of Year 12 rapidly approaching. 

After visiting the Ngapulara Ngarngarnyi Wirra (Our Family Tree) exhibition at MOD at the University of South Australia, some of the students set about completing their ‘Acknowledgement Assignments’. 

These are projects where students write-up biographies of successful Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples and explain how they have been inspired by them.

Cassie Brown, Ricky Wilson, Patrick Ferguson and Juanita Kelly are successful Aboriginal people in their own respective professional fields, who delivered a panel to the Academy students during the term. 

On the sporting side, we were lucky to have AFL premiership hero Simon Black (Brisbane Lions) visit our Academy and join with fellow Brownlow Medallist and AFL Premiership player, Academy coach Gavin Wanganeen, as well as ex-Power player Alipate Carlile to deliver a training session. 

“Having Gavin Wanganeen and Simon Black – two Brownlow Medallists – in the room , hearing them reflect on their learnings, their journeys and what they’re doing in the community was very inspiring for the students,” says Tyran Hill, the Tjindu Foundation’s Assistant Project Officer who helps deliver the Aboriginal AFL Academy program.

Students then participated in the opportunity for the students to deliver an Acknowledgement of Country each night of the Royal Adelaide Show. 

This was followed by RAA’s ‘Street Smart High’ program at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. This is a conference for secondary school students to learn about a range of issues – including road safety – that will affect them as they make the jump into adulthood. 

“Our students have drawn a lot of valuable experience and knowledge from these opportunities,” says Hill. 

“They are getting excited about taking the step from being a teenager into early adulthood.

“The opportunity to deliver the Acknowledgement of Country in front of thousands of people at the Show each night is also an important experience – public speaking in front of others is a great skill to have, and our students were able to represent their culture with pride in doing so.”

Graduation for the 2022 Aboriginal AFL Academy in on Thursday 10 November.

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