THE annual Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduation Mass was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, last month to recognise 45 indigenous students from across the diocese who completed Year 12.
Fr Peter Dorfield celebrated the Mass, with local councillors, elders, schools and community in the congregation.
“Students were the proud recipients of a commemorative medal and sash during the service,” a spokeswoman said.
“The Mass was made extra special with elder Maureen McKellar and her daughter Dr Raelene Ward both addressing the students, and another highlight being when the very talented Jada Dennison from YCLC (Youth and Community Learning Centre) played guitar and sang her own composition, ‘All you have to do is pray’.
“The day was a wonderful success with schools and community coming together to celebrate this important milestone in students’ lives.”
Toowoomba Catholic Schools’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education education officer Jennifer Wills said, “It is important to celebrate this occasion, to acknowledge the hard work of the students, families and schools, and to give the students our blessings for their future.
“Recent national data shows the retention rate of full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Years 7 to 12 was fifty-five per cent compared with eighty-three per cent for other students, so this is a real achievement to celebrate for our Year 12s and we wish them all the best for the future.”