TWENTY-FOUR excited Indigenous students received the news this month that they will be even closer to completing their chosen tertiary qualifications. The students have been announced as the recipients of the Mary MacKillop Foundation’s Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship.
The Mary MacKillop Foundation scholarship provides financial assistance and ongoing mentoring to students. Indigenous students experience many barriers to learning and we believe it is the mentoring that makes our program so successful.
Mary MacKillop Foundation CEO, Maree Whybourne, said this round brings the total number of students currently being supported by the Foundation up to 76. “We want to end the disparity of access to education for Indigenous Australians.”
“Like Mary MacKillop, the Foundation believes that education is the foundation for a fulfilling life, provides new opportunities, creates future leaders and brings about lasting social change,” said Mrs. Whybourne.
Peggy Lane, one of the Foundation’s new scholarship recipients from Queensland will be entering her first year in a Bachelor of Industries at James Cook University. She was born and raised in the Torres Strait and moved to Cairns to complete her studies.
“When I think back now, I can see I’ve always been creative. A lot of it comes from my culture where we express ourselves through art rather than the written word. I didn’t realise I was learning through the song and culture.”
“When I applied for the Scholarship last year, I never thought I’d get it. But now that I have, I can focus on my degree. Now that I’m set on my goal I’ve started to action a plan to achieve it. My aim is to go back to my community. I’m doing this to get back there and bring these skills back to the community.”
The Mary MacKillop Foundation’s Scholarship program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has a high graduation rate with nearly 80% of students completing their qualification, a success rate that far exceeds the national average.
Kimberley Peckham has been supported for the past two years by the Foundation. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Combined Law/Arts at the University of New South Wales.
For Kimberley, completing her tertiary education will not just benefit her but has an effect on her whole family. Currently she’s the only person in her family to complete high school and attend university.
“There never seemed to be much hope for me to attend university. Coming from where I was, to studying law at university, means I will be able to positively influence the younger generations that are in the same position as I once was. I want to lead by example, give hope for the future and show other Indigenous kids that university is an option for them even though at that moment in time they may not think so.”
The Mary MacKillop Foundation relies on donations to fund its Indigenous tertiary scholarships, as well as its community grants program which supports small life changing projects to help those most vulnerable or marginalised in the Australian community.
To donate to the Mary MacKillop Foundation or to find out more visit www.mackillopfoundation.org.au.