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Hundreds of young Indigenous given a chance to finish school with QATSIF scholarship

Alexandra Hills State School students

Achieving dreams: Alexandra Hills State School QATSIF Scholarship recipients Andrea Wanambi, Wonindi Conlon, Elijah Alberts and Sara McGovern. Photo: Papillion Studio Photography.

HUNDREDS of young indigenous students from Queensland will complete their senior years of high school with help from a state-based scholarship fund.

The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation has delivered scholarships to 1045 indigenous students from all education sectors across the state to support their Year 11 and 12 studies.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from 56 Catholics schools in Queensland were among the recipients for the 2018 round.

The scholarship recipients receive $1000 a year during their final two years of high school.

More than 120 students gathered at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane for a ceremony to celebrate receiving scholarships this year.

QATSIF invited guests Aunty Ruth Hegarty, who is the organisation’s patron, and actress, author and opera singer Aunty Maroochy Barambah, who sang the country’s national anthem in Turrbal language.

A portion of QATSIF’s funding comes from the interest on unspent “stolen wages” compensation monies held in trust by the Queensland Government.

Parisa Ara

Bright future: Parisa Ara from Redbank Plains State High School receives his scholarship certificate from Aunty Ruth Hegarty (centre) and Jane Ceolin. Photo: Papillion Studio Photography.

QATSIF secretariat director Michael Nayler said for some indigenous families, $1000 meant the difference between having a uniform or “the pride to be able to wear shoes to school”.

Mr Nayler said former QATSIF scholarship recipient Lucina Colbert was one of the organisation’s success stories.

After graduating from Forest Lake College in Brisbane last year, Ms Colbert was named Queensland’s top performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait student.

With help from the scholarship, Ms Colbert is planning on studying medicine at university.

Indigenous twins Amanda and Chantelle Martin also received support from a QATSIF scholarship and are studying dual Law degrees at Griffith University.

The Martin twins gave a speech at the QATSIF scholarship recipient ceremony.

Mr Nayler invited parents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students to apply for the 10th round of scholarships in mid-June.

“Families need to approach their schools about applying for these scholarships,” Mr Nayler said.

Read the full coverage of the QATSIF scholarship ceremony including more photos in the March 11 edition of The Catholic Leader.  

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