08 Aug 2022
My Future, My Culture, My Way is helping more Aboriginal students finish high school with a focus on culture and identity.
Sarah is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Tumut and Western Sydney, who graduated from St Mary’s Senior High School in 2006, and now works as a doctor in Wagga Wagga. Jirrah is a proud Wiradjuri man currently in Year 12 at Gorokan High School. Both are talented people who want to inspire other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to attain their HSC.
"The HSC was a bit daunting. I was the first person in my family to sit those exams, but my parents were very encouraging. My Dad always said it was important for me to finish high school and go to uni. He used to say to me, ‘once you've got the HSC or degree, no one can take it off you’. I saw the HSC as the gateway to something different,” said Sarah.
My Future, My Culture, My Way is a collaboration between the NSW Department of Education, NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations and the Premier's Implementation Unit. It is one of the top priorities of the NSW Premier to increase the number of Aboriginal students who complete the HSC while maintaining their cultural identity.
"Making sure I’m not the last person to do the HSC is more important to me than being the first. It’s like the two-hour marathon; once someone does it, you know it can be done," said Sarah.
My Future, My Culture, My Way aims to help students connect with their culture, feel proud of their identity and who they are, and do well in school. This series of the campaign shows what it's like to finish the HSC and how students have overcome difficulties.
"For me, the biggest challenges so far have been balancing cultural learning with the HSC and avoiding burnout. Aunty Lesley Armstrong, the Aboriginal Education Officer at Gorokan High School, always knew I’d go well with my education. She also wanted me to be an Aboriginal role model within the school and community," said Jirrah.
If you’re interested in seeing the different pathways to attaining a HSC or looking at what strategies other students implemented when they were having difficulties, check out these success stories.