Story: Cliff Lyons
Cliff Lyons has been a hero to many people for years, both on and off the football field. He has a sporting record most other players can only dream about and is the only Aboriginal player to have notched up 300 NRL matches. He has represented his state (1990) and country (1991) in league and was named the 1999 Sportsman of the Year at the 7th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sports Awards.
Cliff, whose successful football career has spanned a total of 332 first grade appearances, four grand finals and 87 first grade tries, strongly believes in the importance of completing a full education. That is why he became an Ambassador for the National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.
“As an Ambassador, my job is to promote education to young Aboriginal kids and put a bit back into the community to help them,” says Cliff.
Cliff has already visited schools in Moree, Weipa and Brisbane to talk with teachers, parents and students alike about the value of education.
“I talk to the kids and their parents to try and get them interested in their school and education and basically get them involved. Just like football, education is a team effort.”
“I also talk to teachers and make sure they know about Aboriginal culture and how it affects students in and out of the classroom, ” he adds.
“Aboriginal kids often have a different home experience to that of non-Aboriginal kids, so teachers really need to understand that, and parents really need to get involved if they want their kids to achieve at school.”
Cliff will continue his school visits throughout the year, spreading his message about the importance of education to parents and students alike.