The Koorie Student Aspirations Day was held on Wadawurrung country at GMHBA Stadium on Monday 4thand Tuesday 5th April, bringing together Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander secondary school students from the greater Geelong and Colac region.
Supported by the Polly Farmer Foundation, the two day event was organised by the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG). The event provided an opportunity for students from Years 7-12 to hear from inspirational young Indigenous role models who have achieved success in their chosen field. The program also presented a number of opportunities for students to learn about post school career and education pathways and opportunities.
Each day included a Welcome to Country from Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles, followed by a “speed dating” session where students visited a number of stalls to learn more about opportunities available to them post school in in a number of different fields and industries.
Students heard from representatives from educational institutions such as universities and TAFE, representatives from building and construction organisations, Unions, employment agencies and local organisations with Indigenous traineeships and pathways.
Staff and Alumni from the Polly Farmer Foundation also ran a goal setting session, where students were encouraged to start small but dream big, and work their way through developing SMART goals to achieve whatever they want to do in life.
Isaiah Firebrace (a Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara man) winner of 2016 X-Factor and 2017 Eurovision Australian representative, was the guest speaker for the Koorie Aspirations Day. Isaiah shared his story of growing up in a small country town and his first experience of singing in front of a crowd at school in Year 8, his failures and how he worked through them before winning the X-Factor at the age of just 16.
The afternoon sessions included hip-hop dancing, art and painting, Indigenous games, the AIMe Leadership program and Clothing The Gaps Foundation’s “Shades of Deadly” campaign.
LAECG co-Chair Aunty May Owen shared how wonderful it was to see this annual event happen again after two years of COVID postponements.
“We want to make sure our kids know they can do anything, and there are people all around who can help them get to wherever they want to go,” said Aunty May. “One of the best things about these days is seeing all the kids come together and connect with each other, with their culture and to meet new people and know they have support in whatever they want to do now and in the future.”
The Koorie Aspirations Day is designed to instil pride in First Nations youth and to provide them with many options for their future.
The artwork, designed by proud Gunditjmara Kerray Woorroong woman,Tarryn Love for the 2022 Koorie Aspirations Day is called Wootyook – meaning Star – and the words Mok Borriyn mean proud in Wadawurrung language. The logo also includes the words “Believe, Achieve, Succeed,” and these are the words that these students will take with them from this year’s Koorie Aspirations Day.