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Leaving home to pursue educational goals


Young Aboriginal man wearing a grey hoody and cap looks out over bush landscape with cloudy sky in the background.
‘I just thought of my future and what I wanted to pursue.’ Jason Coleman
2 Nov 2017

A school excursion to Adelaide was the motivation behind a young Aboriginal student’s decision to further his secondary education in the city.

For 15-year-old Jason Coleman, leaving his home town of Ceduna on South Australia’s west coast and relocating to Adelaide was a big decision.

‘I’ve lived in Ceduna most of my life, but I just thought of my future and what I wanted to pursue,’ Jason said.

With the support of the Indigenous Youth Leadership Project (IYLP) and the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA), Jason was successful in securing a scholarship provided by The Smith Family.

‘I heard other students from previous years talking about the scholarships and I became inspired to apply.  I wanted more opportunities for my future and I knew moving to Adelaide for school was the best thing for me to achieve my future goals.’

The scholarship has given Jason the opportunity to attend Prince Alfred College (PAC) as a boarder.

‘I never really heard kids talk about their future and what they wanted to do in life,’ Jason said.

‘And then I came here and kids are talking about their SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education) and what they want to do after they finish school. It’s exciting to have lots of opportunities and I’m even going to New Zealand at the end of this year on a school trip so it’s been great.’

Jason’s transition from Ceduna to PAC was made easier through his connection and on-going involvement with Justin Wilkey. Justin is an Indigenous Student Mentor with the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA).

AISSA uses a multi-modal approach including face-to-face and online engagement. It supports students with their social and emotional development, educational needs and future pathway opportunities.

‘The link with Justin is a reminder of home because he helped support me when I was at school in Ceduna as well, so to see him in Adelaide has definitely helped because I know there are lots of people that want to see me do well.’

Jason has flourished in his short time at PAC and said it’s been a life changing decision. He believes it will lead to many more opportunities in the future.

‘I know I want to go to university but am keeping my options open about what to study, because I’m interested in so many things at the moment,’ Jason said.

“Whenever I have study sessions I like to do it with my friends because they help to drive me and are motivated like me.’

Find out more

The Australian Government’s Children and Schooling Programme funds the IYLP which offers scholarships and leadership opportunities, with a focus on Indigenous youth from remote or regional communities.

AISSA’s Indigenous Student Mentoring Program was developed in 2015 after it secured funding through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy. The Indigenous Student Mentoring Program currently supports more than 130 Aboriginal students attending Independent Schools across South Australia.

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