Spe­cial spread cel­e­brat­ing coun­try kids grad­u­at­ing

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREA DAVY An­[email protected]­ral­weekly.com.au

BE­FORE she heads off for her first year work­ing full-time on a cat­tle sta­tion, Leah Kath will be help­ing her par­ents in their own stock camp.

The teen has dusted off Year 12 and is look­ing for­ward to her work­ing gap year be­fore start­ing uni­ver­sity in 2020.

Her grad­u­a­tion im­age, which is of her sit­ting pretty on a rusty old ute play­ing gui­tar, was among the for­mal pho­tos shared by the Bush Kids Face­book page.

Ev­ery year Bush Kids, a site geared at pro­mot­ing the vi­tal role young peo­ple fill in ru­ral Aus­tralia, shares im­ages of high school grad­u­ates.

This year’s batch didn’t dis­ap­point with young peo­ple pos­ing with heifers, footy boots and horses.

Grow­ing up on Mt Leonard Sta­tion, lo­cated be­tween Birdsville and Win­do­rah, Leah laughed off the idea she would be on ‘hol­i­days’ un­til her real job started.

“My fam­ily lives on a

1.9 mil­lion acre place where we run cat­tle,” she said.

“Mum and dad are happy to have me back, I think they are keen to put me to work.”

Leah was thrilled to fin­ish high school and will pay homage to hours she spent work­ing along­side her dad Hen­ning and mum Lor­raine in the stock camp on Mt Leonard, as she has taken a po­si­tion on Glengyle Sta­tion as a jil­la­roo.

“I am re­ally ex­cited to start work­ing and earn­ing money and mak­ing my own way,” she said.

“I can’t wait to get out there and learn a bit more.”

The prop­erty is about 280km from her fam­ily home. Leah has an­other close friend who will be tak­ing a gap year on a sta­tion, and a few oth­ers chose to stay on in Townsville.

The for­mer board­ing cap­tain has fond mem­o­ries of the Cathe­dral School in Townsville.

While the first cou­ple of years, after be­ing taught through Mt Isa School of the Air for all her pri­mary school, were an ad­just­ment, she made friends for life.

“When I look back on it now, I loved it. I made some re­ally close friend­ships, I feel grate­ful to have had the op­por­tu­nity to be a boarder.”

Leah de­cided early on she wanted to take a gap year.

“For me Year 11 and 12 were full on, I just wanted a break from study­ing,” she said.

“I didn’t re­ally know what I wanted to do un­til about half way through this year, uni was al­ways an op­tion but I knew I didn’t want to go straight there.”

Leah has ap­plied to study a Bach­e­lor of Equine Science, a de­gree she be­lieves will help her find work within the horse in­dus­try.

“It in­volves a lot of be­hav­iours and nutri­tion man­age­ment, I am hop­ing that will help me get into horse breed­ing and man­age­ment.”

When Leah isn’t work­ing along­side her par­ents or rid­ing horses, she is play­ing mu­sic. She started gui­tar les­sons in Year 4 and picked up the flute in Year 11 – her les­sons may have stopped but she is de­ter­mined to keep play­ing.

See more grad pic­tures by search­ing ‘Bush Kids’ on Face­book.

PHOTO: DENISE FLAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Ryan Catholic Col­lege grad­u­ate Heath O’Ke­effe is an avid rodeo com­peti­tor in timed events. He is keen to find an ap­pren­tice­ship.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Emalee Rose Deaves from Dysart, Queens­land is look­ing sim­ply mag­nif­i­cent.

PHOTO: RED SKY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

NEXT STEP IN LIFE: Leah Kath, from Mt Leonard Sta­tion near Win­do­rah, will take a gap year on a cat­tle prop­erty next year.

PHOTO: CAS­SAN­DRA GLASSER

Luke Sul­li­van and Is­abel White grad­u­ated from Dalby Chris­tian Col­lege. Next year Luke will carry on with his boil­er­mak­ing ap­pren­tice­ship and Is­abel plans to start her trainee­ship through Ru­ral Ser­vices.

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