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Girls Academy from classroom to University and beyond

[supplied by NIAA]

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Anastasia O’Neil with former Broncos players, Scott Prince and Steve Renoug. Image: Broncos Girls Academy

From science to media and the Royal Australian Air Force, three young women from the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy are setting a shining example for young Indigenous women to pursue their dream careers and become the next generation of leaders.

Last year, more than 180 Indigenous girls from 32 schools in Queensland and northern NSW completed their Year 12 studies with the support of the Girls Academy.

They join almost 1700 female students who have participated in the Broncos Girls Academy since 2016.

Former Charleville State High School student, Anastasia O’Neil 21, credits the program with building her confidence and teaching her valuable leadership skills that have assisted in her role as a Network Technician with the Australian Defence Force.

“The best thing about the academy was the bond between staff and students. I personally felt as if I had gained friendships with the Beyond the Broncos staff and that they were there to support me and encourage me through my schooling and choices in my future careers,’ Anastasia said.

“They constantly asked about our plans for the future, especially because I was in senior years when attending the academy. It made me feel more encouraged and prouder to strive and reach my goals.”

Girls Academy graduate, Jordan Atkinson, 20, from Alexandra Hills, used the program to reconnect with her culture and build her sense of identity. She is currently completing a science degree at Griffith University but hopes to go on to study medicine next year.

Aimy Park from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) is another positive role model for young girls taking part in the program. Aimy is thriving at university and is looking forward to pursuing a career in communications once she graduates.

The Girls Academy mentors and supports girls in Years 7-12 and into young adulthood to improve school attendance, build confidence and set career pathways.

They are supported by high-profile ambassadors Justin Hodges, Ali Brigginshaw, Scott Prince and Beryl Friday, and by staff based in each of the participating schools.

Christine Halliwell, General Manager of Community & Government Programs at the Brisbane Broncos, said the Broncos were incredibly proud of all the Girls Academy graduates.

“Anastasia, Jordan and Aimy are all positive examples of the program’s contribution to the lives of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” she said.

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