YEAR 12 students from all around Leichhardt converged on Canberra today to celebrate their graduation through the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said a total of 16 students from the electorate graduated the programme, from communities as diverse as Badu, Bamaga, Coen, Cairns, Mossman and Pormpuraaw.
Fourteen students were able to make it to Canberra to attend the event, which was held at the prestigious National Gallery.
“I was very impressed when I found out that Leichhardt had the highest number of graduates compared to all the other electorates in Australia,” Mr Entsch said.
“It was great talking to the students – they had such a variety of plans for the future and were really excited about what they were going to do next.
“Some were going to university to study law, others were heading to TAFE to start nursing qualifications or to the Australian Defence Force for a career in the army or navy.”
The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) offers scholarships and leadership opportunities to young Indigenous Australians, with a focus on youth from remote or regional communities.
The program gives Indigenous young people the opportunity to study at high-performing secondary schools and benefit from practical leadership experiences, personal development and mentoring. IYLP is funded by the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Mr Entsch told the students that there were many challenges growing up in small regional communities, particularly when the value of education was sometimes not recognised.
“As someone who left school at 15, I’m full of admiration for young people who are choosing to continue their education,” he said.
“Just take a look at the 150-plus students here today you can see the opportunities that are opening up for them and it’s very exciting.”
Above: Group shot with the graduates from Leichhardt.
Above L-R: Crystal Thomas from Yarrabah, Jasmine Salam from Mossman, and Courtney Minniecon from Mossman with Federal MP Warren Entsch at the IYLP Graduation.
Above L-R: Stacey Conrad from Pormpuraaw graduated from the program two years ago and came along to support her sister, Madlyn Conrad, right, and Kym Kepple from Coen.
Above: Barry Newman, left, from Bamaga is the son of NPARC Councillor Edward Newman, right, and attends Abergowrie College near Ingham.
Full list of Leichhardt graduates: