INDIGENOUS cricket star Mikayla Hinkley is helping Redlands students reach their potential in her new role with the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy.
The 23-year-old, who won a Big Bash League title with the Brisbane Heat, has taken up the post of Broncos student support officer at Wellington Point State High School.
More than 2000 girls across Queensland and northern New South Wales are enrolled in the academy, which aims to improve school attendance, increase confidence and foster leadership.
Students at Wellington Point State High School are among 160 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls from the Redlands in the academy this year.
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Former NRL great Scott Prince is one of the program's ambassadors.
Hinkley, who is a proud Indigenous woman and part of the Kunja tribe, said she hoped to inspire young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in the Redlands.
"My Grandfather was Indigenous, though was adopted at just two years old, so our family lost that connection to our Indigenous heritage," she said.
"It wasn't until I was a teenager playing in the Indigenous cricket competition that I started to embrace who I was.
"At school I was very disengaged from my education and knew little about my heritage.
"I wish I had the support and mentoring that is provided to these girls through the Broncos Girls Academy."
Brisbane Broncos community and government programs general manager Christine Halliwell said leaders like Hinkley inspired the next generation.
"Her career success and sense of pride as an Indigenous woman is inspiring to our young girls," she said.
"Mikayla's determination to achieve great things in her life both on the cricket pitch and at university is a great inspiration to other young women."
Hinkley, who is studying a business management degree with a major in financial planning, said working with the students gave her a great sense of fulfillment.
"Our girls have a unique opportunity that I didn't have at school, to feel a sense of belonging and purpose by being culturally engaged and valuing their education," she said.
"I'm extremely passionate about my role with the students at Wellington Point High School.
"The Broncos program is trail blazing for young Indigenous women, highlighting the connection between education and culture."
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