TOOWOOMBA Grammar School is one of just fifteen schools nationwide to have a Yalari Captain in 2022, with year 12 student Reghan Bayles appointed to the position for a second year in a row.

Yalari is a is a not-for-profit organisation offering scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities.

Each year it selects a handful of Yalari Captains, recognising qualities such as leadership, involvement with their school communities and the ability to act as a role model for other students.

Reghan said with two new year seven students on Yalari scholarships at Grammar this year, he was feeling more responsibility and opportunity to engage, mentor and guide them through what can be a challenging transition to boarding school.

“It’s a way of giving back,” Reghan said.

He came to TGS from a tiny school in Eidsvold in the North Burnett and said he remembered how scary it was to begin boarding.

He said he was grateful he had Yalari boys around to help him through homesickness.

“For young Indigenous teenagers, it can be tough being so far away from home and culture and their homeland,” Reghan said.

He said it felt good things were moving forward with the school’s Indigenous program, with excursions, lunches throughout the year and a dedicated room on campus for Indigenous boys if they need somewhere to go during morning tea or lunch.

Scott Gale, Yalari founder Waverley Stanley, Reghan Bayles and headmaster John Kinniburgh.

Those are some of the initiatives being driven by the school’s first Indigenous Education Coordinator, Scott Gale, after TGS created the new position this year to strengthen Indigenous education.

“I’ve come in to build on what’s already happening here in Indigenous education,” Mr Gale said.

“To add a more streamlined approach and lead our reconciliation action plan, which is in the process of being created right now.”

Mr Gale said the school was lucky to have Reghan as Yalari Captain, and he met with him regularly to discuss what the school could do better.

“Reghan also meets with the headmaster regularly to work out what we need to drive from a student’s perspective.”

Mr Gale said taking part in the Biarah Burra program, providing Murri cultural awareness and engagement for secondary students, had been a positive initiative for the school.

“We’re engaging a few local mobs and local people around the Downs to teach our boys,” Mr Gale said.

“We want to learn the history of the place we learn on.”

Toowoomba Grammar School is also hosting the GPS Indigenous round for football and tennis in week six of this term.

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