Yalata’s Lorraine Garay was celebrating last week as she graduated from the University of South Australia’s Aboriginal Pathway Program (APP).
The university offers a pathway tailored to Indigenous students who require extra support or who did not receive a required ATAR to directly move into tertiary study.
The course is a free program that aims to prepare students for university study and is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Ms Garay studied for two years in a “broad preparation program” to get her ready for an undergraduate program.
Included in her program was an introduction to psychology, environmental science, Aboriginal knowledge, learning and culture, academic literacy, computing, and maths.
She completed her studies while also juggling work commitments at Yalata Anangu School.
“It feels really good to have finished,” Ms Garay said.
“I did external online work and also travelled to Ceduna and Whyalla to study, and fit it all in with work.
“Sometimes it was really hard to balance work and study.”
The school and community came out to celebrate and support Ms Garay’s achievement, as did the university’s APP program director Tanya Weiler.
“It was great to have the community there as the whole community has been part of her success, and Lorraine made a speech,” Ms Weiler said.
“Lorraine is now the 12th person to complete the course.”
Ms Garay has plans to study criminal justice, an online course offered through the University of South Australia, with an eventual goal to assist fellow community members at Yalata.
“I feel ready to tackle this course,” she said.
“After I finish, I want to keep studying and I want to help people in Yalata.”
Ms Garay also has a role as a liaison officer with Yalata Police, helping people who have come into contact with the justice system.
Ms Weiler said the program would begin again in 2019 and those in the West Coast region interested should contact Michelle Anderson on 0428 199 654 or visit www.unisa.edu.au/app.
“It is a fee-free program and there is support for travel and accommodation,” she said.
“It helps to build skills for any degree.”