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Aboriginal students at the top of their game

18 November 2021

Imagine travelling 2 hours a week, every week for 2 years, to play the sports you love. Now imagine doing that while you’re still in high school.

This was Courtney Bouzikos’s life while she was studying at Murray Bridge High School and participating in the SAASTA (South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy) specialist sports academies. Not only was Courtney part of the netball academy, she also played in and captained the AFLW academy team. The 2021 Amy Levai teaching scholarship recipient will continue to shoot for the stars in 2022 where she plans to undertake a teaching degree at university.

Courtney says it’s hard to put into words the impact of having a teacher who shares her history. “It is for this reason I wish to pursue a position in education and give back to my community what has been given to me”.

Other remarkable achievements celebrated at the recent SAASTA specialist academies graduation include Warriappendi student and keen soccer and AFL academies player, Josh Broadbent. With the help of SAASTA, Josh has already completed a partial Certificate III in Hospitality, stage 2 Workplace practices, stage 2 Aboriginal Studies, and Certificate II in Sports Coaching. On top of that, Josh will complete his SACE as a year 11 student, which he describes as a privilege.

What he has learned extends beyond the classroom. “My experience with SAASTA has taught me how beautiful our culture is. We have had cultural experiences that will be with me for many years to come”.

Seaton High School’s Temaana Sanderson-Bromley received multiple awards at the graduation, including a Curriculum Excellence award, the Michael Ahmatt Performance award, and the inaugural Community Contribution award. Temaana loves being involved with his community on Country and in Adelaide, including coaching and mentoring Under 14 boys as part of the Indigenous Basketball Australia program.

Specialist Academies coordinator Tara Budarick was proud to watch the more than 100 strong team of Aboriginal students in years 10 to 12 graduate from the basketball, netball, soccer, and AFL (men’s and women’s) academies.

“SAASTA is so important to Aboriginal students’ education and future success. SAASTA provides Aboriginal high school students with skills, opportunities, and confidence to achieve in sport, education, employment, healthy living, and connection with culture,” Tara says.

“Curriculum is an important part of the academies, with students completing a SACE subject or VET qualification to assist in employment or further training in their chosen fields, and to contribute towards SACE completion.”

Each of the specialist academies has a program partner who brings industry specific knowledge to the program. The contributions of the partners, Tjindu Foundation, Netball SA, Aboriginal Basketball Academy, and North Eastern MetroStars Soccer Club, have been instrumental to student success.
Find out more About the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA).

Pictured (left-right): Courtney, Josh, and Temaana.