Student honoured for volunteer work
WHEN he is not in the lecture room learning, he is on the water rowing and mentoring high school students about the prospect of higher education.
Curtin University Boat Club president Cameron Thorn was awarded the President’s Shield for his contribution to University sport in a volunteer role.
On top of his student workload, the 25year-old spends more than 30 hours a week volunteering.
The Bachelor of Education student has initiated one of Australia’s first indigenous rowing programs through the development of Curtin Addressing Higher Educational Access Disadvantage program. Mr Thorn said the federally-funded program was about encouraging people generally unrepresented in higher education to participate.
“It’s about raising the awareness and aspirations of people towards higher education, as well as increasing their capability and eligibility to undertake study successfully,” he said.
As part of the program, pre-service teachers work with partner high schools to help students create and achieve career and educational goals.
Inspired by his love for rowing, Mr Thorn has developed a partnership with Clontarf Aboriginal College in Waterford.
“Last year, every morning I rowed past Clontarf and I’ve always wondered why there aren’t many Aboriginal people involved in the sport and thought it would be great if they got involved,” he said.
“Rowing is all about resilience and determination and helps you feel more confident in your own abilities. When you win or even just finish a race, there’s no better feeling because you’ve worked so hard for it.”
In partnership with Clontarf, Curtin University Boat Club, Rowing WA and Curtin Stadium, Mr Thorn has been meeting students twice a week for rowing lessons and once a week in the classroom.
“I taught students about the history of the sport, the traditions of the sport; they had work books they had to complete and they had to explain the strokes,” he said.
Mr Thorn also encouraged Clontarf students to design a rowing uniform that was specific to them and the school.
He hopes his volunteer work will mean more students will ‘ row’ their way into university.