NRL star at young women leadership programme graduation
Manly Sea Eagles and New Zealand Kiwis forward Martin Taupau was present to reward graduates and award winners of the NRL Beyond the Goalpost Star leadership programme at a ceremony at the Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Hotel yesterday.
This was the second year that the programme for Year 12 students has been run, and NRL Samoa programme manager Gabrielle Apelu said it has grown after the initial pilot of 15 girls.
“2018 saw this number increase to 67.”
She said it started out as a leadership program for young girls not involved in physical activity.
This year a new dimension of creating champions for women was added.
“16 of those 67 are the first ever young men to join our girl’s leadership program,” Apelu said.
“It’s amazing having Martin here to validate that, because gender equality is exactly what he stands for as well.”
Taupau said it was great to be part of the event, empowering young women and getting everybody involved.
“Equipping them with leadership skills, innovation, it’s great to see these young women doing great things within their schools and the community, and developing themselves as well.”
Apelu said a highlight of this year’s programme was the Maluafou College students raising $8000 tala for a renovation to the girls’ bathroom.
“We run training sessions where they build up their self-confidence.
“Teach them how to serve the community and themselves through sport, giving them transformational leadership skills.
“In high school, it’s often the same five most athletic people who get all the opportunities.
“We want the same opportunities for everybody so no one gets left behind.”
She said it can be hard to measure whether self-confidence has been built up.
“But for example at Leififi and Papauta, all the girls that started the programme last year became prefects this year.”
Those girls and others from their programme have become mentors for this year’s cohort.
“We end up building a pretty big network, and hopefully form friendships and a support group they can hang onto for the rest of their lives.
“Now we’re all waiting to see where to next for our high school graduates.”
The NRL offices in Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are looking to run their own editions of the programme next year.
The Samoan programme is funded by the Australian government through the Pacific Sports Partnership.
Australian deputy high commissioner to Samoa Amanda Jewell said the coming expansion shows it has been a success.
“We like to support things that strengthen people-to-people connections, and sport is such a great way to bring people together.
“The ability to work in a team, be a leader in a team, those are great skills.”
Graduates of Beyond the Goalpost Star 2018
Miretina Pulemaimila - Leififi College
Akenese Siloto - Leififi College
Samco Leauma - Leififi College
Hanalei Atonio - St Joseph’s College
Florence Taualagi - St Joseph’s College
Tianesa Nelson - St Joseph’s College
Aiufi Tekofi - St Joseph’s College
Fritz Fidow - St Joseph’s College
Basqua Maualaivao - St Joseph’s College
Fasafualealofa Faae’e - Vaimauga College
Anna Marie Moala - Vaimauga College
Angelnetta Kapeneta - Vaimauga College
Sueina Levi - Papauta Girls College
Alofa Misipati - Papauta Girls College
Aiga Tanielu - Papauta Girls College
Rachel Avau - Papauta Girls College
BEYOND THE GOALPOST STAR LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNER FOR EACH SCHOOL
• FIAAVAE TAGILIMA – PAPAUTA GIRLS COLLGE
• JEMYMA LAFOAI – LEIFIFI COLLGE
• ERELYNN OBRIEN – ST JOSEPH’S COLLGE
• SULUSAMOA ILALIO – SENESE SECONDAY SCHOOL
• MELISHA SOOAEMALELAGI – MALUAFOU COLLEGE
• FASAFUALEALOFA FAAE’E – VAIMAUGA COLLGE
WINNERS OF NRL REBRANING COMPETITION – MALUAFOU COLLEGE
OVERALL WINNER FOR THE BEYOND THE GOALPOST STAR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM – LEIFIFI COLLEGE.