Maria Mitchell-Lawton from Emmaus College is about to graduate from High School with the assistance of a QATSIF scholarship.
Maria Mitchell-Lawton from Emmaus College is about to graduate from High School with the assistance of a QATSIF scholarship. Chris Ison ROK131017cgraduates2

Rocky indigenous girl strives for bright future

MARIA Mitchell-Lawton is a proud indigenous woman.

Yesterday she was one of 95 Rockhampton indigenous students who celebrated graduating from Year 12 in a special ceremony held at CQUniversity in Rockhampton.

These students were given scholarships by the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation (QATSIF) scholarship program to help them complete their senior schooling and increase their job opportunities.

The Emmaus College School Captain said she enjoyed her studies at high school, especially English, mathematics and legal studies.

"The scholarship has benefited me because it has given me the motivation to believe that I can actually achieve things...my learning is not wasteful,” she said.

"Education is very important to not only myself but to my culture and my people.

"It is very powerful and you can do a lot with education so I encourage my indigenous people to strive for better things.”

Maria has big plans ahead of her after she graduates from high school.

"I plan on going to university and completing my degree in law or criminology and criminal justice,” she said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Mark Furner said the QATSIF scholarship program provides a bright future for thousands of indigenous students in Queensland.

"More than 6000 scholarships have been awarded to students in more than 250 schools from all sectors throughout the state, including in regional and remote locations,” he said.

"Last year, QATSIF scholarship recipients made up almost half of the state's estimated Indigenous Year 12 cohort.”

Minister Furner said this year's state budget would enable 2000 indigenous students to enter the job market.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government will continue to remove obstacles to education and support proven programs to close the gap in education, which we know also leads to better job outcomes.”



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