Green and gold crayons, pencils and paintbrushes at the ready – for the Commonwealth Games, Australia’s favourite koala is taking over a classroom near you!
Coming armed with colouring-in books, decorations, education packs and more, Borobi’s Classroom is the ultimate Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games super guide which will teach children about the importance of the historic, multi-sport event.
Borobi, the big blue cuddly koala, is the Australian team’s mascot. His name is derived from the language of the Yugambeh, whose traditional lands are in south-east Queensland. He has the word “Jingeri” emblazoned on his top, which means “hello” or “g’day”.
Hundreds of schools across the country are taking part in Borobi’s Classroom, where children will write good-luck letters to athletes and design artwork to be displayed in the Games Villages.
The packs also contain Borobi-themed activity books, Games-time journals, and instructions on how to host your own mini-Commonwealth Games. This custom teacher resource provides all the information teachers need to design classes based around the Games and its history.
Birmingham bound badminton player Gronya Somerville and cyclist Caitlin Ward were on hand to help launch Borobi’s Classroom education program.
Commonwealth Games Australia Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM said the pieces of art the children are creating will mean a lot to athletes who are a long way from home.
“It means so much to receive words of support and encouragement from home – especially from young Australians who may one day follow in your footsteps,” Thomas said.
“Heading out for your event and walking past a drawing or letter from a school student can really boost an athlete’s morale and remind you who you’re competing for.
“I can’t wait to see the pearls of wisdom Aussie students come up with this year and the reactions on the athletes’ faces when they open their letters.”
Commonwealth Games Australia expects that more than 400 athletes will receive these personalised letters, with further artwork to be displayed around the Games Villages at Birmingham.
Heading to her third Commonwealth Games, Badminton star Gronya Somerville said it’s heartening to see young children engage with and learn about the Games.
“Sometimes you can get caught up in your training and competition and forget those little eyes watching on from home,” she said.
“It’s so important to remember that we are role models for the next generation and that any one of these young letter writers could be the next sporting superstar. Reading their letters will certainly help me to focus before my games and remind me who I am representing.”
Cycling’s Caitlin Ward – who is headed to her first Commonwealth Games – said she cannot wait to open her messages of support.
“When you’re halfway across the world, it means a lot to open a handwritten good luck letter,” she said.
“I remember going to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games as a kid and being in awe of the athletes competing there. I am pinching myself that 16 years later I am one of those athletes flying the Aussie flag at the Commonwealth Games.
“If I can inspire just one person to stand up for themselves in the face of adversity and have the courage to be brave, I will feel like I have used my journey and cycling career to make the world a better place.”
So far more than 400 schools have registered to be a part of Borobi’s Classroom. Registration is open to all Australian schools.
During Games time schools can also dial in to watch the Birmingham Breakfast, a live Q+A session with athletes broadcast over Zoom. Five lucky schools will be selected to take part in the Q+A, which will be recorded and repackaged for social media use.
Schools can register at: https://commonwealthgames.com.au/borobis-classroom/
Further enquiries can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August and will be broadcast live and free on Seven, 7mate and 7plus.