By Lauren Bragg
Over 500 primary school students representing over thirty different cultures converged on the Clem Jones Centre yesterday for the inaugural Australia Post Multicultural Schools Cup.
Four schools – East Brisbane, Carina, Moorooka and Yeronga State Schools – took part in the Carnival day which was the concluding event in the Multicultural Schools Program
The six week program assists children from grades three to ten from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to access and participate in AFL Football.
Throughout the six week program students learnt the various skills required to play AFL, such as handballing, kicking, marking, introductory umpiring and AFL 9’s.
During the carnival day students enjoyed applying their newly learnt skills in round-robin matches against other schools and also participated in yoga and boxing activities.
Teams who made it to the finals in the afternoon were given the opportunity to play for the Australia Post Multicultural Schools Cup.
To spectators, it was evident that all students had learnt to appreciate the important themes emphasised by the program, such as fair play, respect, teamwork, harmony and leadership.
Polish migrant and School Captain of Carina State School, Igor, was very pleased with the attitudes of the umpires and other students, describing AFL as “a fun sport” and “a fair game.”
Although India – also a school captain at Carina – described her skills as “a bit rusty”, she said she “would love to play again.”
India was also impressed that AFL was an inclusive sport that both girls and boys could play.
While speaking to the students it was clear that they enjoyed working as a team and were very supportive of their classmates.
Daniel Almond, AFL Queensland’s Schools Development Officer, said that the skills and rules of AFL have been picked up really well by the children, with many having come from non-AFL backgrounds.