Students from Clontarf Aboriginal College will become the first all-Indigenous team to reach the Rowing WA All Schools State Championships, thanks to a new partnership with Curtin University’s Addressing Higher Educational Access Disadvantage (AHEAD) program.
The program, one of the first in Australia, sees Curtin and participating Clontarf students meet twice a week for rowing lessons on the Canning River and once a week in the classroom, where Clontarf students are provided with academic tutoring. Curtin Stadium is also offering free training sessions for the Clontarf students, in order to boost their overall fitness.
Charles Flodin, Program Coordinator of Curtin AHEAD said they were receiving great feedback from the students and the program was benefiting both Curtin and Clontarf students.
“The enthusiasm from the Clontarf students is astounding and beyond the level we expected,” Mr Flodin said.
“The Curtin University Boat Club, through its Vice-President Cameron Thorn, has developed mentoring relationships with the students and are now providing insight into what university life is like, something which was previously out of reach for the students.”
Rowing WA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Luke Callier said he hoped the successful program would be rolled out into other high schools, to increase the profile of the sport.
“Rowing is traditionally seen as an elite sport within private schools, so it is important for Rowing WA to encourage programs such as this one, which gets students from a wide range of backgrounds participating,” Mr Callier said.
Clontarf’s rowing team has already competed in a number of regattas and will take part in the Rowing WA All Schools State Championships, to be held at Champion Lakes on July 26.
The program will culminate on August 22 in a Clontarf to Curtin regatta where rowing teams from across Perth will take part in a symbolic row between the institutions and finish with a community barbeque.
The project, managed by Curtin AHEAD, is a partnership between Clontarf Aboriginal College, Curtin University Boat Club, Rowing WA and Curtin Stadium.
Curtin AHEAD, funded by the Commonwealth Government, aims to inspire students to consider education beyond high school and provide exposure to university life and programs. An official launch of Curtin AHEAD initiative is being held on August 4 by Steve Irons MP, Federal Member for Swan.