On the 10-year anniversary of the NRL Indigenous School to Work Program, Melbourne Storm celebrated the tremendous achievements of the students involved in completing their high school education.
Having endured long interruptions due to the pandemic, the students have demonstrated resilience and determination, building strong futures as they look toward becoming leaders within their communities.
Students and their teachers, friends and families gathered at AAMI Park where Alex Splitt, a proud Kabi Kabi dhan (man), commenced proceedings by Acknowledging Country and a Smoking Ceremony.
Splitt presented handcrafted individual kun’ma’rin (wooden shield) necklaces for the students to take with them as reminders of their strength, protection, and courage.
The students finished the necklaces by polishing them with bees wax, followed by a discussion of their accomplishments and challenges they faced over the past few years.
Following, local Aboriginal Dance Group 'Bandoc Tati', which means ‘Small Ant Brothers’, performed for the students. Two of the dancers, Jeremiah and Joziah Nannup, are NRL School to Work participants also amongst the graduating class. They proudly performed in front of their peers and shared their culture with those in attendance.
The students were then treated to a special guest appearance from AFL legend Eddie Betts. Betts shared his life experiences, the importance of education, having a strong voice, and his passion for supporting and encouraging the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.
Eddie congratulated all the students in the room for their leadership in graduating and encouraged them to ‘get comfortable in the uncomfortable’ to achieve their dreams and career aspirations.
Melbourne Storm and the NRL would like to acknowledge the achievements of all the participants in the School to Work Program over the past few years. It has been a particularly difficult few years and all students handled it with courage, dedication, and commitment. Congratulations to the class of 2022.