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Casimira a trailblazer for Tiwi students

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Young Tiwi Island woman in purple dress and headdress standing in front of a palm tree.
Casimira Tipiloura at her Graduation ceremony in Darwin.
7 Jan 2016

For such a trailblazer, Casimira Tipiloura, seems quite relaxed about it all.

Casimira recently became the first Tiwi student to graduate from a Tiwi Islands high school with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), enabling her to attend university. However, the Xavier Catholic College Wurrumiyanga student knew success would come as long as she followed some simple rules.

“All I had to do was come to school every day, work hard and have a positive attitude,” Casimira said.

Casimira grew up in the Tiwis, attending Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School (MCPS) and Xavier and wanted to show other local students they did not need to move to Darwin to complete their senior schooling.

“I’ve lived here all my life; it’s a great place to live, to go hunting, being with friends and watching the Tiwi Bombers,” Casimira said.

“I decided to go to university so I could get a good job but I wanted to stay here to finish school. All of the Tiwi community supported me and encouraged me to study hard and go to university.”

Becoming the first student from your community to graduate with an ATAR would be a big enough achievement for most people, but Casimira really excelled in school, being awarded a certificate of merit from the Northern Territory Board of Studies in Recognition of excellent achievements by an Indigenous student in school studies in Year 12 and an award for Top Academic Indigenous Achiever.

And if that’s not enough, she also found time to screen print t-shirts and bags with her Tiwi inspired waterlily design and sell them at the school fete to raise money for her future studies.

Casimira is now looking forward to moving to Darwin this year to study Early Childhood Education at Batchelor Institute before starting a teaching degree and returning home to teach the next generation of Tiwi students. Until then, though, she hopes she can inspire other Tiwi students to finish Year 12 so they can get a good job. 

“My late auntie was the school principal and she was my inspiration, always telling me about the importance of education, so now I encourage everyone here to go to school every day,” Casimira said.

Find out more

Making sure all children attend school and obtain a good education for their future, is a key priority for the Australian Government. Remote schools around Australia, like Xavier Catholic College Wurrumiyanga, are providing quality education and support to students to achieve their goals.