With a blend of academic ability, sporting talent, the respect of his peers and a passion to serve his community, Ceduna’s Kaya Scott is a leader in the making.
The Rostrevor College boarder was recently presented with a NAIDOC Youth Award for his contribution to the community, particularly for his role in supporting young indigenous students living away from home.
Rostrevor principal Brian Schumacher said Kaya had seized the opportunities he had been given and was an inspiring role model for fellow students – both indigenous and non-indigenous.
“He is a great ‘all-rounder’ with his academic studies, sport, his self-belief and strong sense of cultural identity,” Mr Schumacher said.
“His strong sense of community and family has developed from his upbringing in Ceduna, and he now helps mentor some of the younger Aboriginal boarders and helps them with any challenges they may face.”
Kaya, who has seven brothers and sisters in Ceduna, has helped younger Aboriginal students – who are often hundreds of kilometres from home – transition into their new learning environment.
Fellow Rostrevor boarders, including cousin Jaquan Scott and Kai Edwards from Ceduna, are among those to benefit from his support.
“My mum raised me to help people when people need a bit of help, so I help out where I can around the boarding house,” Kaya said.
“You’re a really long way away from your family and it’s completely different to school at home, but once you get into the groove, it’s good because there are so many opportunities.
“Once I settled in, I started to work really hard on my studies and used the tutors that the school provides – they’ve been really good.”
The 17-year-old has also been part of the Port Adelaide Football Club’s Aboriginal AFL Academy for the past 18 months, which involves education and training once a week at Alberton Oval throughout the school year.
Mentored by Port Adelaide staff, coaches and players, academy participants take part in a range of high performance activities, practice matches and cultural exchanges.
The students also undergo VET studies in a variety of disciplines such as fitness and Aboriginal studies, while Kaya is undertaking a Certificate II in Aboriginal Studies.
“It has given me the chance to learn more about my culture and how to maintain it,” he said.
“It’s also about being proud to share that culture and how to share it.”
He said he was determined to finish his schooling well and, if not selected for the AFL, aimed to study at university and seek a career in justice or forensic science.
He said he would like to return to Ceduna and serve the community in the justice area.
As the second oldest of eight children, Kaya said he was humbled by his recent award but felt he was having a positive influence on his younger siblings who were keen to follow his example.
“I hope that what I’m doing is inspiring them to go as far as they can as well,” he said.