When Wirangu man and third year Human Movement student, John Boxer is announced as the first winner of the Goodes O’Loughlin UniSA GO Scholarship today, he will also get to shake the hand of one half of the GO Foundation and scholarship namesake, Adam Goodes.
The GO Foundation partners with organisations to create opportunities for Aboriginal youth through education.
Boxer came to University a little later than some but with a passion to learn more about human performance, sport, physical fitness and well-being.
“Having played sports all my life and working as a fitness professional since finishing school, I came to university as a mature-aged student with the goal of working within an elite professional sports environment,” Boxer says.
“Since coming to university my passion to learn more about this field has grown as has my desire to help people to become physically active.
“I want to build a career that helps to educate, support and train the younger generation, influencing their journey and helping them to reach their goals – to participate in sport and for some, to participate at an elite level.”
Boxer’s commitment to high performance in his studies has been outstanding, and his grades reflect his hard work and dedication.
He is focussed on increasing his grade point average in 2017 to open up postgraduate study opportunities.
Learning more and more about his cultural background each year, Boxer has become a regular participant in the annual South Australian Aboriginal Community Football Carnival.
Boxer was selected to represent UniSA at the State Reconciliation Breakfast and the Indigenous Allied Health Association (IAHA) conference in Canberra, where he competed in the grand final of the multidisciplinary HealthFusion Team Challenge.
He is currently undertaking an internship at the Adelaide Crows Football Club under the supervision of the high performance team, where he is learning first-hand about the procedures and strategies of an elite sporting environment.
“At University I have had support and encouragement from the student engagement unit and the experience has made me feel proud to represent my people academically, promote change and offer support to new students,” he says.
“Most recently I have been involved in a program run by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DSCI), and working with the Metropolitan Aboriginal Youth and Family Services (MAYFS) Warpulaiendi Programs Team to develop a health and fitness program to engage with young Aboriginal kids.
“What I really love is that I am gaining valuable knowledge to do important work for the wider community.”
The special GO Scholarships for high achieving Aboriginal students at UniSA who are studying in a sports-related field, are supported by funds granted by the South Australian Government.
The scheme was launched in 2016, coinciding with the announcement of a $5 million donation from Sydney Swans Chairman, Andrew Pridham for the development of UniSA’s great hall.
The scholarships provide students studying in health and sports sciences with $6000 a year, for a period of up to four years.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Kyam Maher said the scholarships help talented high-achieving Aboriginal students achieve their sporting goals – both on and off the field.
“Michael O’Loughlin and Adam Goodes are South Australian-born sporting legends and it’s great to see them, and former UniSA student Andrew Pridham, investing in our next generation in this way,” Mr Maher said.
“John is a worthy recipient doing fantastic work with our Aboriginal communities and I wish him all the best.”
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