Two Richmond Next Generation Academy members will live together as boarders at Caulfield Grammar this year.
Mackenzie Cowley, a Year 10 student from Tongala started at the school last month, following the lead of Shepparton’s Will Dwyer (Year 11) who commenced in 2018.
Tongala has a population of just 1900 people, which is just under 60 per cent of the number of students (approximately 3250) enrolled at Caulfield Grammar.
Cowley’s transition to the school, has been made easier by Dwyer, who has taken the younger Academy member under his wing.
“I already knew 'Macka' a little bit through my younger brother Zach (who is also part of the Tigers’ Academy), so as soon as he got down here, I got around him and taught him the ways and how to go about it,” Dwyer said.
“Most of the boys in the boarding house are country kids, and we have a lot in common, it’s not like us and the day-schoolers, where it’s a bit less natural.”
Cowley made the move to Caulfield after an illustrious 2018 that brought with it selection in the Under 15s Victorian Country cricket squad, a senior football debut at just 14 years of age and an Under 17s league best and fairest in the Murray Football League as a bottom-aged player.
The all-rounder was also recognised as the City of Kyabram’s ‘Young Citizen’ and ‘Junior Sportsperson’ of the Year at the town's annual Australia Day Awards ceremony.
“It is mainly sport that brought me here and that’s because I want to play the highest level that I possibly can,” he said.
“I was lucky to grab some of those awards which I was pretty happy about and I am very fortunate for all the opportunities I have received.”
Both Cowley and Dwyer are on Indigenous Scholarships at the school.
“I am looking forward to having the chance to teach some of the boys more about Indigenous culture,” Cowley said speaking about his class and teammates.
“They wouldn’t know a lot about the culture since there’s not many of us Indigenous kids getting around (at school), hopefully the school gets along with it and creates more opportunities for some Aboriginal education.”
Dwyer, who has completed two leadership camps as part of the Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute said he got a great thrill out of wearing a specially designed Caulfield Grammar Indigenous jumper in 2018.
“We will wear one again this year which will be great fun, the school is getting across it more and more and has gone from three Indigenous students to five this year,” he added.
“I love being able to learn about culture and my family when I am at home, but Caulfield and Richmond are now giving me lots of chances to also do that here.”
Dwyer danced on the MCG as part of the Tigers’ Dreamtime at the 'G celebrations in 2018.
“Being able to embrace my culture with all those boys and the atmosphere around it was an awesome experience,” he said.
“It’s a great set-up we have here, and Caulfield do a really good job helping us come in and board, we have plenty of support all round.”