Judging from the admiration and comments from youngsters and adults, Evonne Goolagong is still as popular as ever.
Unlike some of today’s professional tennis players, not a whiff of a scandal has ever sullied her good name.
Evonne Goolagong MBE, AO has more honours than some players have won grand slams, including Australian of the Year, Australian Sportsperson of the Year, she has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Aboriginal Sporting Hall of Fame to name a few.
And, this proud Wiradjuri woman continues to be as gracious, generous and grateful for the opportunities offered her.
On Wednesday, March 28 the legendary tennis player and her Evonne Goolagong Foundation (EGF) visited Forster to make an offer to local Indigenous youngsters.
“If you stay in school you can find your dream,” Evonne told an enthusiastic group of Great Lakes primary and secondary school students.
“I know all of you can achieve your dreams, but it is very important you finish your education,” she said.
Evonne was talking about her Australia-wide EGF program based around the dream, believe, learn, achieve concept.
With support from the Federal government, EGF promotes and helps provide better health and education for young Indigenous Australians.
More than 100 students from Nabiac, Tuncurry, Forster and Halidays Point public schools, Holy Name Primary School and Great Lakes College, Forster attended the event.
Since the former number one tennis player, and husband Roger Crawley, begun running EGF back in 2005, the foundation has awarded 66 education scholarship.
The couple set up the national program beginning with Come and Try Days followed by assisted coaching then selection to a Goolagong State Development Camp.
A National Development Camp has been held annually in January since 2005 and is based at Monash University, Melbourne during the first week of the Australian Open.
Many young men and women who have come through the foundation work with the program as it moves around the country providing ideal role models for today’s youngsters, while others have graduated from university and are working within their communities.
We have had many lawyers, and two doctors graduate this year, Evonne proudly said.
Former scholarship recipient and one-time Forster resident, Kiyah Jones (Stewart) chose not to pursue a promising career on the tennis circuit to work with the foundation.
Kiyah was an enthusiastic member of the team assisting at Wednesday’s Come and Try day.
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