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MEDIA RELEASE - Youth scholarships awarded

24 December 2019

Two local indigenous students have received funding to assist with their future studies as part of the Glenelg Shire Council Aboriginal Education Scholarship program.

Portland’s Jannah Firebrace, 21 and former Heywood resident Jerrika Pevitt, 18, were both successful in receiving $3000 scholarships which will be used to cover the financial costs of their tertiary level studies.

Ms Firebrace will use the funds to undertake a Bachelor of Social Work at the Institute of Koorie Education (Deakin University). Ms Pevitt’s scholarship will contribute towards the costs of completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.

Both recipients were overwhelmed by the announcement, describing the scholarship program as ‘life-changing’.

“It’s been a whirlwind past few weeks, from finding out my ATAR, to being accepting into university and now receiving the scholarship, it’s been crazy but in the best way possible,” said Jerrika.

“I’ll use the scholarship funding to assist with the costs of equipment and resources for my science degree. I am really looking forward to starting my course in the New Year and embarking on the first step of my career journey.

“The scholarship program is a fantastic initiative, too often rural students are disadvantaged due to the distance and cost, and there is a lack of funding opportunities. This scholarship alleviates the burden for students and better yet the application process is simple and straightforward.”

Ms Firebrace said she was inspired to pursue her passion for social work as a result of her employment with Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service (DWECH).

“In my current role at DWECH I’ve seen the first hand the impact of collaboration from general and allied health services and how this can make a difference to the lives of community members. I’ve always wanted to help others, and this degree will offer a number of career opportunities for me to give back to the community and assist those in need,” she said.

“The news [about the scholarship] still doesn’t feel quite real, it will be a whole new chapter of my life but I am really excited about. I will actually be the first person in my family to undertake tertiary level education, so going to university next year is going to be pretty life changing.

“I’ll most likely use the funds to pay for essential course resources; the first thing on the list is a new laptop to help complete the online study components.”

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank congratulated the successful applicants who will use the grant to assist in covering school fees, books, stationary, compulsory clothing and travel expenses to complete their course.

“I applaud the efforts of these students who have built strong aspirations for their futures and are inspiration to many,” she said.

“Research shows that only two out of 10 Aboriginal students within the Glenelg Shire are staying at school to complete year 12 study. These grants are an important catalyst to create change and reverse this trend.”

The successful applicants were chosen based on recommendations from the Glenelg Mara Quorin Aboriginal Advisory Committee. The scholarship program has been offered since 2014 and aims to encourage Glenelg Shire based Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander residents to study beyond year 12 and in an area relevant to Local Government.

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