St Joseph's Regional College indigenous students are collecting university applications and kicking career goals

CAREER FOCUSED: St Joseph's Regional College high-achievers Isaac Young, Charlee Woolnough-Dawes, Anais Bleasdale and Marraki Kilpatrick.
CAREER FOCUSED: St Joseph's Regional College high-achievers Isaac Young, Charlee Woolnough-Dawes, Anais Bleasdale and Marraki Kilpatrick.

As Hastings year 12s nervously await their HSC results, four indigenous students are already planning their future careers in psychology, medicine, paramedicine and youth ministry.

St Joseph's Regional College high achievers Anais Bleasdale, Isaac Young, Charlee Woolnough-Dawes and Marraki Kilpatrick are lining up their future career aspirations and discussing their education journey as indigenous youth.

Mr Young is in the final application process for attending the University of Newcastle to study a Doctor of Medicine degree.

He has also already accepted an offer for a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 2020 as a backup.

"I just studied hard really. I come to school to do the work then go home and do an hour or two of study," he said.

"I like doing mathematics and science at school so it seems like a good fit. We also own a gym which I have been going to so I have an interest in anatomy as well for medicine.

"I've done a winter and summer program for the University of Sydney, and last week I was in Newcastle for their indigenous entry program.

"Being indigenous hasn't really affected my schooling but you can see that there are other people in other communities that don't have those opportunities."

Mr Young was the recipient of the St Joseph's Regional College Spirit Award.

Ms Bleasdale will take up an offer of Bachelor of Psychology degree at University of New England. She also hopes to complete honours and receive a Defence Force scholarship.

"I've helped out with the indigenous youth group through Birpai to provide homework hub, sporting and crafts after school," she said.

"It was a good way to make it easier on families and provide an outlet for kids during 11 and year 12.

"I didn't get that cultural experience as a kid. I thought it was a great experience to help out and learn more about my culture.

"We have always been a proud indigenous family but at that time I didn't know what it meant to be indigenous.

"I think it would be beneficial for indigenous culture to be taught more in schools because there are so many people missing out on a large section of the nation's history."

Ms Bleasdale was the recipient of the Rotary Club Citizenship Award this year and has played a strong pastoral role at St Joseph's.

Graduating student Marraki Kilpatrick has accepted the position of Youth Ministry Officer at Newman Senior Technical College in 2020.

He is aiming to join the National Evangelisation Team in Canada for a year in 2021, before commencing study in secondary school teaching in mathematics and religion.

"As I was studying in school I felt that the Youth Ministry Officers helped me get to where I am. I applied to fill that role for someone else," said Mr Kilpatrick.

"Helping out other people has always been a passion of mine so assisting young people to understand more than what's being taught in the classroom will be ideal for me.

"The main issue I have come across in my own personal life is that I don't look like a stereotypical Aboriginal person. When I share my identity with someone, they will often say 'No you're not, you're the whitest person I know'.

"I've learnt that deep down it's not what other people think that makes me who I am. It's me knowing that I am and showing what makes me who I am."

Mr Kilpatrick was the recipient of the St Agnes Parish Service Award and has been involved in the College youth ministry teams.

Ms Woolnough-Dawes is aiming to study Bachelor of Paramedicine at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie.

She currently has an offer for the course and has attended the Indigenous Tutor program at CSU this month.

"I'm hoping to become a paramedic and see where it takes me from there," she said.

"I'm hoping to stay in Port Macquarie but I wouldn't mind working in rural or remote areas.

"I think the only time you really learn about indigenous culture is in religion classes, but it's not really brought up in any other subject. That's kind of sad."

Ms Woolnough-Dawes received a nomination for the St Joseph's Regional College Quiet Achiever of the for her academic studies this year.

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