Stu­dents earn schol­ar­ship

Avon Valley Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Gri­er­son

THREE high- achiev­ing indige­nous stu­dents from Swan View Se­nior High School are one step closer to mak­ing their dreams a re­al­ity.

Steer­ing a path­way against the odds, they are on the way to be­com­ing a doc­tor, a teacher and an ac­tor.

Shon­tae Coyne, Kawli­jaMerle Brahim and Bertha Moore are among 10 statewide win­ners se­lected for a schol­ar­ship from The Young Aus­tralia League ( YAL).

The na­tional youth or­gan­i­sa­tion supports youth ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hard­ship due to so­cial cir­cum­stances, dis­abil­ity or dis­tance.

Up­per sec­ondary stu­dents Shon­tae and Kawlija will re­ceive an­nual bur­saries of up to $ 3000 in years 10, 11 and 12, while Year 9 stu­dent Bertha will be awarded a $ 2000 schol­ar­ship.

YAL chair­man Frank Schaper said the stu­dents im­pressed the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee with the qual­ity of their ap­pli­ca­tions and gen­uine de­sire to suc­ceed aca­dem­i­cally de­spite fi­nan­cial and other bar­ri­ers.

“We view these schol­ar­ships as a ‘ hand up’ not a ‘ hand out’ that al­low young peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dis­ad­van­tage con­tin­ued ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion that they might oth­er­wise not have,” he said.

Aca­demic ex­ten­sion stu­dent Shon­tae ( 15) said be­com­ing a doc­tor would al­low her to play a pos­i­tive role in her com­mu­nity and help the most dis­ad­van­taged.

She lost her mother when she was five and her fa­ther is in a nurs­ing home af­ter a car ac­ci­dent that left him un­able to speak or take care of him­self and his fam­ily.

She shares a home with 11 peo­ple, in­clud­ing eight chil­dren, un­der the care of her 23- year- old cousin and le­gal guardian.

As one of the old­est chil­dren, she feels the pres­sure her cousin is un­der to look af­ter so many and she re­lies heav­ily on the sup­port of­fered by her school.

“For the first time in my life, I can be com­pletely fo­cused on my ed­u­ca­tion rather than al­ways wor­ry­ing about money,” she said.

Kawlija ( 14) wants to study ed­u­ca­tion and psy­chol­ogy at univer­sity and then teach stu­dents in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

She said her de­sire to achieve had made her the tar­get of bul­lies, but she over­came the chal­lenges to gain se­lec­tion for a UN youth con­fer­ence in July in New Zealand.

“Know­ing I have the funds to pur­chase a lap­top, pay my school fees and to be able to at­tend all camps and ex­cur­sions un­til I grad­u­ate is such a re­lief for me and my fam­ily,” she said.

Bertha ( 13) is on the Swan View SHS aca­demic ex­ten­sion pro­gram and a role model for her eight younger sib­lings.

“The schol­ar­ship helps me to have the same re­sources and op­por­tu­ni­ties as other kids my age,” she said.

Swan View SHS prin­ci­pal Me­le­sha Sands said the girls em­bod­ied the spirit of the school’s Fol­low the Dream pro­gram.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www. com­mu­ni­typix. com. au d479278

Young Aus­tralia League schol­ar­ship win­ners Shon­tae Coyne, Kawlija- Merle Brahim and Bertha Moore.

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