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Indigenous students from Brisbane Catholic schools farewell 12 years of education

Schooling milestone: Brisbane Catholic schools’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander class of 2019.

IT was the end of 12 years of schooling, and Brisbane’s Catholic school Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were farewelled at a graduation liturgy at St Stephen’s Cathedral on October 11.

Vashti Borthwick-Beetson, from St Columban’s College, Caboolture, offered a heartfelt student reflection on behalf of all graduates at the liturgy.

She thanked everyone who had helped them achieve it, often overcoming unique challenges.

“Congratulations to the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander class of 2019 – we made it,” she said.

In his own reflection, elder Uncle Eric Law said the graduates were “emerging elders”.

He fared them well and told them to keep at it.

He also thanked them for the hope they offered.

Each graduate was presented on the sanctuary, and family and friends flocked to photograph the class of 2019.

“It was a very, very nice, very positive celebration,” Ngutana-Lui (Brisbane Catholic Education’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre) co-ordinator Ken Millar said.

“Celebrating the achievements of the young students, the ATSI students, we all recognise that education is the most important thing and for these young people to make that step in that long journey is all credit to them and their families,” he said.

“It was exciting and a great day for them. 

“It’s one of my favourite days of the year.”

Marlon Riley, also from Ngutana-Lui, said the celebrations went smoothly.

He said it was great to see the kids smiling.

Parents and graduates mingled for a while after the liturgy, taking photos and introducing one another to teachers and friends.

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