Following their dream

Following their dream

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Follow the Dream students with Elder Derek Nannup.

Students at Byford Secondary College helped their peers celebrate NAIDOC week with a special performance and various activities.

Byford Secondary College takes part in the ‘Follow the Dream’ program, which is for Indigenous students at the school who have the capability to pursue tertiary education at University or similar.

The students are given the opportunity to attend a session on a Wednesday afternoon at the college where they have access to tutors to assist with their education.

Michelle Barrett runs the program at the college and keeps an eye on the student’s studies.

“I make sure they are doing the right thing, coming to school and if they need resources such as books I always make sure I have a stash to help them,” she said.

The program began as the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s first education program in 1997.

After two decades it has been successfully replicated across Australia in 33 communities in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

Ms Barrett said the college had a special classroom for the program, which is open to students before school and at lunchtime.

“The program has helped the students immensely,” she said.

“Sometimes kids need a little bit more confidence and the program does that and more.”

The students that take part in the program were recently able to engage with fellow students as part of NAIDOC week to teach the peers about the rich history of their culture.

Local Aboriginal Elder Derek Nannup attends the school every year for NAIDOC to entertain the students, when the Follow the Dream classroom was opened he taught some of the students some traditional dance.

“The older kids taught the younger kids how to do the dances,” she said.

“All the Follow the Dream students got up at the NAIDOC assembly and made a speech.”

The Follow the Dream kids put on a performance for the college.

The college also had activities running throughout the week including bracelet making, face painting, creating storybook characters from natural textures and sand painting.

Students participated in the activities together, painting each other’s faces and making bracelets together.