Inspirational basketball star holds court at Carinity school
A man who overcame poverty to play professional sport and become an internationally renowned speaker has inspired Rockhampton school students who are also achieving despite facing barriers to education.
Eric Bailey visited Carinity Education Rockhampton on September 10 to share his story of resilience and to help officially open the school’s new multi-purpose sports court.
Born with a bone disease in both knees and abandoned by his birth parents, Eric was raised in South Central Los Angeles, one of the toughest neighbourhoods in America, where crime and drugs were a way of life.
Despite dealing with racism, gang violence and low socio-economic conditions, Eric worked hard to graduate from school and was drafted to play college basketball.
After completing his university studies, he played in Australia’s National Basketball League and now uses the lessons of life and sport to inspire others as a motivational speaker.
“Despite a difficult upbringing, Eric fought incredible odds to elevate himself into a brighter future. He’s a great role model for our students as his message reinforces that you can overcome a difficult start in life if you make the most of your opportunities,” Carinity Education Rockhampton Principal, Lyn Harland, said.
Eric’s visit to Carinity Education Rockhampton coincided with State Member for Keppel and Assistant Minister for Education, Brittany Lauga, officially opening a new $936,000 multi-purpose covered sports court at the school.
The court has been a popular addition to the school, which gives vulnerable young people a genuine chance at education through a unique approach that features smaller class sizes, youth workers providing support in classrooms and vocational education opportunities such as tourism and hospitality.
“As a special assistance school, we are growing rapidly with now more than 130 students enrolled, up from just 35 when we started in 2016. The multi-purpose sports court is a great asset for us and all the students here love using it,” Lyn said.
The Queensland Government invested $505,000 into the project to help Carinity Education build the new court.
“The school has used the funds to turn an open area into a facility that has so many uses, including as a fully covered meeting place,” Minister for Education, Grace Grace, said.
“The new court includes some grandstand seating and can adapt to allow a wide range of ball sports to be played, including basketball, volleyball, netball, tennis and badminton.”