Indigenous students in Carnarvon follow their dreams  

[by Clarissa Carradine]


Image: supplied

Indigenous students in Carnarvon gathered with their families, teachers and community members to celebrate the 15 Year Anniversary of the Carnarvon Follow The Dream program.


Held at the Gwoonwardu Mia-Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, the event was an opportunity to not only mark this significant milestone in the history of the program but to also celebrate the achievements of current and past students.


Latisha Ranger says the program has set her up for success at school and beyond: “It is amazing to be part of Follow The Dream and have access to all the opportunities the program provides. Learning from the tutors and teachers who support us every step of the way really inspires me to push myself to the best of my ability. The program has helped me to follow my goal of studying to become an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.”


Follow The Dream is an educational enrichment program for male and female Indigenous students at Carnarvon Community College. The program gives participants access to specialist tutor support, exam preparation, personalised learning plans, career counselling, and mentoring.


Students also have access to a wide range of enriching extra-curricular opportunities, such as work place visits, educational and cultural camps, and university tours. These experiences not only guide study choices, post-school pathways and aspirations, but also promote leadership, develop confidence and celebrate Indigenous culture.


“Follow The Dream plays a vital role in the educational journey of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The impact on our students’ academic achievement is clear, but more importantly, the program plays a key role in supporting our students as young people and creating a space and culture for them to thrive and grow”, says Mimi Fong, Program Coordinator of Carnarvon Follow The Dream.


The program was established in 2005 in Carnarvon thanks to a partnership between the Polly Farmer Foundation, Rio Tinto Dampier Salt, and the WA Department of Education.


As well as providing funding for the program, Rio Tinto Dampier Salt offers students local traineeships and apprenticeships, which assist with their post-school employment and qualifications.


Brendon Brodie-Hall, General Manager Operations at Rio Tinto Dampier Salt, commented: “We are incredibly proud of our long-term partnership with the Polly Farmer Foundation in Carnarvon. The Follow the Dream program is so important to support young people to reach their full potential in life, not only here in Carnarvon but across many other WA schools.”


Rio Tinto has been a highly valued partner of the Polly Farmer Foundation since its very first educational program was launched in 1997. Over the last two decades, the Foundation has gone from strength to strength, and currently supports 2500 Indigenous students in 54 primary and secondary programs around Australia, as well as thousands of former students through its Alumni Network.


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