Girl power on rise

ACADEMY BOOSTS 42 ABO­RIG­I­NAL STU­DENTS

Joondalup Times - - FRONT PAGE - Laura Pond

A PRO­GRAM aimed at em­pow­er­ing Abo­rig­i­nal girls is al­ready hav­ing an ef­fect at Gir­rawheen Senior High School.

The Gir­rawheen Girls Academy was es­tab­lished at the school this year and of­fers a ded­i­cated space for the 42 stu­dents to meet before, dur­ing and after classes for sup­port and as­sis­tance.

Pro­gram man­ager Sa­man­tha Ea­ton said it sought to in­crease school at­ten­dance, im­prove grad­u­a­tion rates, help with post-school tran­si­tion, pro­vide aca­demic sup­port and en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion in ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

“It’s all about em­pow­er­ing our girls to con­tin­u­ally im­prove their at­ten­dance at school,” she said.

“A high­light has been hav­ing an en­vi­ron­ment where the girls can feel safe and con­fi­dent and able to be them­selves.”

Year 11 stu­dent Kristi Mor­ris said be­ing part of the academy helped guide her to­wards her goal of get­ting her Tafe qual­i­fi­ca­tion to be­come a per­sonal trainer.

“It’s been re­ally good; I feel it’s helped me with my aca­demics,” she said.

“I wasn’t re­ally close with the other girls before but we’re ba­si­cally a fam­ily now.

“I feel like I can tell Sam any­thing.”

Kristi will be the first high school grad­u­ate from her fam­ily and be­lieves it will help in­spire her younger sis­ter to fol­low her.

“It feels re­ally good and after me there could be other peo­ple,” she said.

Taleah Boynes is in Year 10 and will study ATAR next year.

“The academy has re­ally opened my eyes to more op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able,” she said.

“Last year I was con­fused where my ca­reer would go but the academy re­ally helped me cre­ate goals and ac­tu­ally have some­where to go.

“I didn’t even think I would grad­u­ate.

“I didn’t re­ally have any goals.”

Now Taleah wants to at­tend univer­sity and her goal is to be­come a lawyer.

She said they ben­e­fited from an after-school home­work club, as well as sup­port for any per­sonal is­sues ex­pe­ri­enced.

The academy stu­dents also vol­un­teer with lo­cal char­ity groups.

Pic­ture: Mar­tin Ken­nealey

Girls Academy stu­dents with de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Tea­gan Climo and project man­ager Sa­man­tha Ea­ton. d473400

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