Broncos players step into Roma classrooms to inspire leaders
A roll call of high-profile sporting legends stepped into the classroom to welcome about 50 Indigenous school students into the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy for this year.
An initiative of the Brisbane Broncos to inspire and assist with educational opportunities for
Indigenous girls, more than 1,700 young Indigenous girls are enrolled in this years’ program
across Queensland and northern NSW.
The newest Girls Academy ambassador, Indigenous netball star Beryl Friday, was also on
hand at the launch event at Roma State College.
Beryl joined Broncos legends, Ali Brigginshaw and Darius Boyd on Wednesday, February
10, to welcome new students to the fast-growing program.
Instrumental in ensuring Indigenous women have a voice in Australian sport and in the
community, Beryl is a former ANZ champion with the Queensland Firebirds and helped to
establish Netball Queensland’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Her story is incredibly powerful and inspiring to all young Indigenous women having experienced racism within the community or in the sporting realm.
“I am extremely honoured to be an ambassador for the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy
and excited to be a role model for young First Nations women in Australia,” said Beryl, a
proud Nyungkul woman of the Kuku-Yalanji Nation.
“Education is one of the most important tools women can have.
“This generation of Indigenous women are no longer denied their rights to higher education and the sky really is the limit.
“Through the Girls Academy, we have the opportunity to make Australia better for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander women now and into the future.
“Both my parents experienced racism growing up and my mum was unfortunately not
allowed to finish school.
“She returned to TAFE as a middle-aged student to finish her certificates, and now holds a degree.”
Beryl is studying education full time while working for the Broncos.
She hopes to be a teacher and ensure that school systems are safer for our kids from a policy or curriculum standpoint.
“Education sets up our kids to make better informed decisions, which can lead to changes
that can benefit them now and our future generations,” said Beryl.
The Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy, which aims to improve school attendance, increase
confidence, and foster leadership, is supported by the Federal Government, State Government, and major community partner NRMA Insurance. Surat region is proudly supported by Arrow Energy.
Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud acknowledged the positive impact the
program was having on young Indigenous women at Roma State College, both at school
and in their community.
“It is wonderful news that netball superstar, Beryl Friday has been announced as the newest
ambassador for the Girls Academy,” he said.
“The program provides young Indigenous women with role models that teach our next
generation of Indigenous leaders how to better connect with their culture, to be proud of their
heritage and to place importance on their education.
“The students of the 2021 program have very bright futures ahead of them and we are proud
to acknowledge that attendance rates at Roma State College have increased since the
program launched in 2016.”
Christine Halliwell, General Manager of Community and Government Programs at the Brisbane Broncos, said leaders like Beryl, inspired the next generation to take a positive step towards their future careers.
“The Girls Academy is thrilled to welcome Beryl Friday as our newest ambassador with
career success that showcases the endless possibilities for our Indigenous girls,” she said.
“Beryl’s courage and determination to achieve great things in her life is an inspiration to
many young Indigenous women.
“We are so proud of our girls at Roma State College who have dived headfirst into the program and have developed a sense of pride for their culture.”
Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy has supported more than 4,000 students since it was
established in 2016, recognising the vital role that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander women play in influencing the next generation.