Clontarf program celebrates first year milestone

Community members, teachers and students gathered with participants of Tumut’s first Clontarf program

The Tumut Clontarf Academy held its end of year awards presentation at Tumut High on Wednesday night, where an array of graduating students were recognised for their commitment to the program and progress made over the last year.

The presentation tied up the first year of the program running in Tumut, with many presenters, speakers and Clontarf students agreeing that it will thrive going forward into the future.

The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.

Using supportive relationships, a welcoming environment and a diverse range of activities, the young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men develop improved self-esteem and confidence which assists them to participate in education, employment and society in a positive way, and encourages students to embrace more disciplined, purposeful and healthy lifestyles.

THS Principle Don Dixion speaking at the event

Nationally, 8,000 students participate in a Clontarf program, with 116 academy’s operating across 6 states and territories. Around 636 year 12 students will complete the program nationally this year.

Administrating Director of Tumut’s Clontarf Program Matt Chapman gave an address congratulating all participants for their work and perseverance throughout the year before delivering an overview of activities and triumphs made over the last 12 months. 

Awards were then handed out to various participants by category, highlighting the progress made.

Awards included the Sportsman award which went to Corey Herrington, Trainer of The Year award went to Brock Russell, Junior Clontarf Spirit Award went to Rubin Russell and the Senior Clontarf Spirit Award went to Jamie Hibbens.

Presented by Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr, the Community Award was given to Daniel Hibbens and the Leadership Award was given to Reggie Coe.

Academy Member of the Year Award went to Aidan Breed.

Reggie Coe accepts the Leadership Award from Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr as Leon Douglas looks on

Manager for Assets and Assurance for Snowy Hydro Peter Symons said that the Clontarf program was shaping the futures of young men by giving them the skills and guidance to build meaningful careers in various industry sectors. 

“We’ve had blokes come in for training and it’s an important thing for us in creating real opportunities for the boys. We have a couple of apprentices from other academies and this year we had a number of boys who have shown an interest in doing apprenticeships with us from this program,” he said.

“We make no secret of the fact that some of our best employees are locals.

“It’s a significant investment in the community and we want to repay the community with that support,” he said.

Principal at Tumut High School Don Dixon said there was no question the Clontarf boys had put in their best over the last 12 months and he was proud and thankful to the organisation for making it happen.

“This has been a great initiative from the ground up. It’s the first year that it’s been done in Tumut and we are happy to be seeing it continue next year and I’m sure for many years to come,” Mr Dixon said.

“It’s been really great having Matt Chapman involved. They’ve had a good insight into schools and how they function and they’ve done exceptionally well,” he said.

Administrating director at Tumut Clontarf Mat Chapman said the Academy was thriving state-wide and rearing positive results for both communities and employers around the country. He said that he was expecting good things to come for the Tumut foundation. 

“We’ve been lucky enough that we’ve seen a lot come up all over the state and the message to come out has always been consistent,” he said.

“This year, for me, has by far been one of the most enjoyable years of work here in Tumut.

“I certainly see it moving forward and I look forward to shaking the hands of those who are in Year 7 now when they reach Year 12 in the future,” he said.

Snowy Valleys police inspector Stephen Radford was pleased with the success of the program.  

“The boys have been fantastic in Clontarf. It’s a fantastic resource for the Aboriginal community and it’s good to see these kids taking steps in education and employment,” Inspector Radford said.