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Turning dreams into reality

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

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Four Indigenous students, including the granddaughter of Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence author Doris Pilkington Garima, have been presented with scholarships worth $5000 each at an event at ECU.

Dreaming@ECU saw more than 200 Indigenous high school students visit ECU’s Mount Lawley Campus to experience university life first-hand.

The day culminated in the awarding of the scholarships. Perth Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Peter Cock, along with ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Kerry Cox, presented the Perth Airport Indigenous Scholarships to:

  • Bachelor of Creative Industry student Korrine Bennell, Bunbury;
  • Bachelor of Arts (Education)/Bachelor of Arts (Creative Arts) student Courtney Lewis, Mundaring; and
  • Bachelor of Music student Tyler Michie, Warwick.

Westralia Airports Corporation established the scholarships in 2010 and will award a total of $90,000 over five years to fund six undergraduate ECU students. Each scholarship pays $5,000 for the duration of the student’s course.

Professor Cox also presented the ECU Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Scholarship to Bachelor of Science Nursing student Shari Pilkington from Marangaroo.

Shari is the granddaughter of Doris Pilkington Garima, the WA-based author of the book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, which inspired the movie Rabbit Proof Fence.

“Nursing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve got a child that has a chronic illness and he’s been in and out of hospital all of his life," Shari said.

"We’ve had really good nurses through his illness and watching them do their job and see how rewarding it is, it’s something I want to get into."

Shari said the scholarship makes her studies a little easier, particularly with helping to pay for nursing textbooks.  

“But it’s not just the money. It’s knowing that someone else has believed in you enough to give you a scholarship. On those days when it feels too hard and I want to quit, I think ‘well I can’t, I’ve got this scholarship’. It helps me to push through.”

Shari also had advice for the young Indigenous students visiting ECU.

“I want to say to them that you can do it. Don’t think you can’t get to university. If you think of it as trying to plan a road trip somewhere, there’s lots of different ways to get where you want to go. It’s the same with education. There are different avenues to get there, but if you stick with it you’ll get there in the end.”

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