Learning to be leaders
ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait students from Roma State College learnt the importance of voting in their last Beyond the Broncos workshop for the year.
Ex-Brisbane Bronco player Justin Hodges has been coming out to Roma for the last two years and said the kids had made huge improvements.
"We've seen a lot of great results over the last couple of years in a wide range of schools, but the kids here are doing a great job,” he said.
"The main thing we try to get across is attendance.
"A lot of our kids are very intelligent but they just don't want to come to school, and this program offers them rewards each term as an incentive to make sure when they attend school they have good behaviour and participate in class.”
Mr Hodges said the workshop was a great success.
"Today was great, we had a good little workshop going about the Australian Electoral Commission and teaching the kids how to vote,” he said.
"Even though the kids are a little bit young, we're just trying to get them to know how important it is to vote.
"Growing up as young fellas, it's something that we missed out on, so it's extremely important the kids get the education.”
Mr Hodges said the workshops also provides learning about their history too.
"It's something that we try pass onto the kids these days, so that they can come to the workshops and get a better understanding of what we do and learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait history as well,” he said.
Beyond the Broncos student support officer Matty Waites said the sessions run once a term and cover an array of values.
"It really teaches the kids about attendance, retention, effort and behaviour, and academics,” he said.
"They have different workshops every time they come out, but today was about voting.
"The kids love it, there has been huge improvements in the students since the Broncos have been coming out.
"Having rugby legends come out definitely helps the boys engage more and it really helps the kids that are on the brink of straying away from school and giving them a reason to come, something to look forward to.”
Mr Hodges said the workshops were important because the country kids got the chance to meet role models that they might not otherwise had access to.
"I grew up in Cairns and Princey's from Mount Isa, so a lot of us have come from different remote communities and you don't get any more west than Mount Isa, so he can really relate to the kids out here,” he said.
"We all come from different backgrounds but we've all faced the same challenges and that is some of the advice we try to pass onto the kids.
"It's a good little program for them and hopefully the kids can grow from it and one day leave their community and make something of themselves and then come back and give back to the community.”