Year 12 students were celebrated at an early graduation ceremony this week as part of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation (QATSIF) scholarship program.
QATSIF was created to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families increased educational choices and life opportunities.
A number of Bundaberg Region students have been involved in the organisation's scholarship program which provided them with ongoing resources to cover the costs of uniforms, shoes, vocational education and training and more.
QATSIF's Michael Nayler said students from seven local schools attended the graduation ceremony at Shalom College on Friday.
“We are really proud to see these young people get to Year 12 and achieve,” he said.
“Here in Australia we still have a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders not making it to Year 12 so to see these young people doing it is absolutely brilliant.
“Our graduation is a bit early here, held in August, because when the students come back to school in Term 4 they only have a few weeks before they start their exams.
“We choose to celebrate their graduation early so to not jeopardise the busy exam period ahead.”
Delysha Tanner from Bundaberg State School and Isis District State High School's Courtney Jackson were two of the graduating students.
They said the ceremony had them thinking about the reality of finishing school and the opportunities that lay before them.
“It's been amazing,” Delysha said.
“It's insane, it has come around really quick,” Courtney added.
The pair already have plans for work after Year 12 and said they were excited to see what the future had in store.
“I was offered a job at the language centre, I am very excited about that,” Delysha said.
“It is a permanent job straight after I finish school.”
“I want to be an electrician and after I have done my trade I want to be working in the mines,” Courtney said.
What is the QATSIF scholarship program?
QATSIF provides two-year scholarship funding to support students commencing in Year 11.
QATSIF funds successful schools which then provide scholarships to individual students.
The program aims to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander student retention in Years 11 and 12 rather than simply sustain existing retention rates.
The funding is used to complement and build on existing school and community programs and provide support for individual students.
Find out more here.