ONCE a shy girl who struggled to connect with her culture, Minjerribah's Aimy Park is hoping to inspire other Indigenous girls to pursue their dreams.
Ms Park completed Year 12 at Cleveland District State High School before being accepted into a Bachelor of Professional Communication degree, majoring in Journalism, online at Central Queensland University.
The Beyond The Broncos Girls Academy graduate, 21, said she hoped her success in higher education would motivate young girls.
"As a shy island girl who had trouble connecting to my culture, while at a predominately white school off my home island, the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy was a huge deal for me," she said.
"It provided the encouragement I needed to reconnect with my culture and other Indigenous girls in my school and region.
"I was taught skills that are not in the school curriculum - valuable life lessons taught in a fun and culturally appropriate way, surrounded by other Indigenous kids who understand you."
The academy mentors and supports students in years 7 to 12 and into young adulthood to improve school attendance, build confidence and set career pathways.
Ms Park was also able to use the skills learnt from the academy to secure a position at the Brisbane Broncos services team while completing her studies.
Christine Halliwell, general manager of community and government programs at the Brisbane Broncos, said Ms Park was a great ambassador for the program, which recognised the vital role young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women play in influencing the next generation
"Aimy's story demonstrates the higher educational opportunities available to Indigenous young women who take part in the Girls Academy program," Ms Halliwell said.
"It has been an honour witnessing Aimy's growth over the past five years, watching her blossom from a shy young girl, into a determined and confident young woman.
"The Academy's work would not be possible without the support of the federal government, state government and our corporate sponsors so they should also be very proud of young women like Aimy."
More than 180 Indigenous girls in 32 schools in Queensland and northern NSW completed their Year 12 studies last year under the guidance of the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy.
They join almost 1700 female students who have been through the academy since it was set up by the Broncos in 2016.
The academy is supported by ambassadors Justin Hodges, Ali Brigginshaw, Scott Prince and Beryl Friday.
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