nib Newcastle Knight Jaelen Feeney understands the importance of getting an education and setting yourself up for a successful future.
“I was taught from my old boy that football doesn’t last forever and education is important,” he told Knights TV.
Feeney joined Dane Gagai, Josh Starling and Knights coach Nathan Brown at Hunter TAFE on Wednesday morning for their Deadly Skills event aimed at high school students.
“Today’s event is about getting our Aboriginal kids in and exposing them to their Aboriginal culture and trying to empower them in their Aboriginal culture,” explained TAFE’s director of Aboriginal Learning Circle, Daniel Jack.
“I know from my own experience being a little lost when I was younger, I reconnected and strengthened my Aboriginal identity through aboriginal dance and things like that."
Knights centre Dane Gagai agrees an event like this is beneficial to encourage young people to stay motivated.
“It is about getting the message across about hard work and if you have a mindset and goal, just doing everything possible and not taking shortcuts,” Gagai said.
“It is great that the TAFE has put this on for the Indigenous students and it helps give them an idea of what they might want to do once they leave school.”
22-year-old Feeney, who has worked as a learning support officer and Indigenous welfare officer, admits it’s about adapting education to life.
“You need to make sure you know the importance of education, that’s the way to go,” he said.
“It is about balance... education is a big part in the indigenous community and all communities.”
The Director of the Aboriginal Learning Circle believes the presence and support of Gagai, Feeney and Starling is a big eye opener for the attending students.
“People like Dane Gagai and the other boys Jaelen and Josh, it’s really important to have them coming along and supporting events like this,” said Jack.
“This is the third year we have held it and the Knights have been behind us from day dot and it is really important the kids come in and see them and see that they also have to balance in their own education.”