Students overcome barriers to become school graduates
Following an academic year like no other, Carinity Education is preparing to farewell its latest success stories.
Around 50 students will graduate from four Carinity Education schools around Queensland on November 20, including the first cohort of Year 12s at Carinity Education Gladstone.
Completing high school is an achievement many of the graduating students once thought might not be possible, having faced considerable barriers to education.
One of 16 inaugural graduates from Carinity Education Gladstone, Ambur had long struggled at school, impacted by low self-esteem and a lack of confidence and self-belief.
“I left my old school due to many reasons, mostly because I never went to class as I couldn’t understand the work, the bullying, and I was not happy,” Ambur explains.
“My life has changed since coming to Carinity. Before then I always felt like I wouldn’t graduate from high school.
“Carinity has a great team of people that made me feel like I am meant to be at school. They have given me and others a chance when other schools haven’t.”
Ambur is one of five members of Carinity Education Gladstone’s class of 2020 who have been at the school since it opened in 2017.
Being a young mum, having English as a second language and not having family around to support her were challenges Lucy had to overcome to finish school at Carinity Education Southside.
Following a traumatic upbringing in Africa, Lucy came to Australia from Ivory Coast as an unaccompanied refugee in 2011 and commenced at Carinity’s school in Brisbane this year.
“Southside is a very supportive school and will do all they can to help a student cope with school and life,” Lucy said.
“I felt accepted at Carinity. They helped me to be proud of being a mother, there was no judgement about being pregnant when I got here.”
The 17-year-old mother of two will graduate from high school this week, and hopes to do more study.
“I always knew I would finish high school, because there is more opportunity for school than in my country, so I took advantage of that,” Lucy said.
As well as overcoming barriers to education, Carinity Education students have had to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 in their senior year.
For several months, students learned remotely with school youth workers delivering schoolwork, empowering students to continue their learning from home during the coronavirus shutdown.
Carinity Education Gladstone Principal Jane Greenland has a “sense of pride” in the young people for their “determination to regain momentum with their education” after struggling at other schools.
“I also have a sense of privilege to have had the opportunity to get to know these wonderful individuals and participate in their growth and learning,” Jane says.
“I am excited about the opportunity to celebrate the students’ achievements, their individuality and the good that we know they will take into the world beyond school.”
Carinity CEO Jon Campbell also paid tribute to the graduating students.
“We honour the graduating classes as they mark new beginnings and new life journeys. They have worked hard to get to this point of closing the schoolbooks and launching their lives as valuable and valued members of our community,” Jon said.