Winning a Dame Roma Mitchell scholarship has given year 11 student Andrew Hill the confidence to pursue his dream to study communications with the Australian Defence Force.
The Port Augusta Secondary School (PASS) student was one of ten South Australian’s to receive the scholarship, providing financial support for Aboriginal students to complete secondary school.
His classmate Amelia Mckenzie is also amongst the recipients. The pair will receive $2000 over four years to further their education.
Only four students from PASS have ever achieved the standard and with a slew of awards under his belt, for Andrew this one was extra special.
“At no point do you look at yourself and go ‘I achieve lots, or I’m an amazing person’,” Andrew joked.
“But when you go to something like this where only 10 people out of the entire state have won it, and you’re seeing all of the people from the top Adelaide High Schools, you kind of realise where you are.
“It made me realise how proud I was to win and how humble I was to be receiving the award compared to the people around me and the people who have won it in the past.”
A self confessed social butterfly, Andrew has his sights set on becoming an infantry officer with the Australian Defence Force.
He is currently a sergeant in the Port Augusta division of the 46 Army Cadet Unit.
“I love the idea of becoming a leader in a very social context,” Andrew said.
“I don’t want to sit there and stare at cars all day as an engineer, as fun as that sounds, I’d rather be talking to people, asking what’s happening and seeing how they are and that sort of stuff.”
Andrew applied for the scholarship last year with the support of Kelly Kimber, Project Coordinator of the Follow The Dream: Partnerships for Success educational enrichment program, which is managed by The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and supported by BHP.
The determined teenager spends most of his afternoons at the centre on Mildred Street where he and other Aboriginal students enrolled in the program are supported with individualised education plans, mentoring, leadership and personal development.
As the first student to receive the scholarship while Ms Kimber has been involved with the foundation, she definitely had a proud teacher moment.
“It’s rare to get such strong leaders that start as strong leaders in year eight and just fit into that role,” Ms Kimber said.
“A lot of that takes time to build that capacity and Andrew has his quiet leadership moments and his more strategic and stronger leadership moments.
“Having the ability to flip between, he definitely manages to influence the other students in the most appropriate ways at the most appropriate times.”
Andrew will commence year 12 next year and plans to use the $2000 bursary to purchase a laptop.
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