BOOYAH GRADS: Charlie Jenson (CQU), Sam Cowie (Education QLD), Randall Warkill (Police Liaison Officer), Latajah Von-Sendon , Antoinette Theideke, Jamilla Ahern, Kyna Tynan, Crystal Hogarth, Shelby Kiernan, Alexis Henderson, Vanessa Morrison, Mikayla Nolan, Bill Cullen (Youth Support Officer), Clare Warrington (Youth Support Officer) and Joe Ramsay (Coordinator)
BOOYAH GRADS: Charlie Jenson (CQU), Sam Cowie (Education QLD), Randall Warkill (Police Liaison Officer), Latajah Von-Sendon , Antoinette Theideke, Jamilla Ahern, Kyna Tynan, Crystal Hogarth, Shelby Kiernan, Alexis Henderson, Vanessa Morrison, Mikayla Nolan, Bill Cullen (Youth Support Officer), Clare Warrington (Youth Support Officer) and Joe Ramsay (Coordinator) Jann Houley

Whole community gets behind Booyah girls in moving forward

MORE than a hundred friends and family joined in celebrating the Project Booyah graduation where community groups delivered a $25,000 surprise.

Members of the Inner Wheel Club of Rockhampton Sunset Inc. presented a cheque for $20,000 they raised during the Capricorn Christmas Trail during October.

The nine graduates helped cook Christmas lunches and operated the coffee van at Glenmore Homestead where the club wrapped up a week-long tour around Rockhampton.

Club member, Lyndall Boswood, said they were able to raise the money due to various citizens' generosity in opening up their nine homes and two gardens to the public.

"This is the first Booyah Project intake which has been all young women and we're extremely proud of them," she said.

Project 'Booyah', which translates to an expression for joy, excitement or triumph, is a police-run leadership project that empowers young people aged 15-16 years make better life choices.

Its 17-week program relies on police, University trainers, support workers and outside bodies to encourage its participants' connection with family, community, culture and each other.

CQUni's outgoing Vice Chancellor, Scott Bowman, opened the ceremony with a reminder that "it doesn't matter where you start in life, it's where you end up."

Mr Bowman, who shared how he "failed high school miserably", reminded the girls to use this opportunity as a springboard."

"Turn your certificate into a diploma, your diploma into a degree, your Bachelor into a Masters... or anything else you want to do".

In addition to their certificates, the graduates received a copy of Ky Furneaux' book Girls' Own Survival Guide.

Voted Best Stunt Performer in the World 2012, Ms Furneaux was in town to make a new web series with Rocky Instincts, a local 'survivalist' organisation.

Instincts' founders, Malachi and Jessie Conway hosted a camp for the graduates which introduced them to a range of traditional skills.

"We learned about knives and fires, traps and knots... and we caught a bush turkey," one graduate said.

The students adopted the camp bushfire as a symbol for letting go of their pasts and moving on with their futures.

"I didn't know why police would bother with me, the number of times I disrespected them," another graduate said.

"But now I know they're always here for me and we're here for each other."

Inspector Pyne, State Project Manager, acknowledged the significant contribution and partnership of Education Qld who supply a part time teacher, offer program support and are able to provide direct links to education or employment outcomes.

Program co-ordinator, Joe Ramsay, is thankful to the people of Rockhampton for driving a truly inclusive approach which delivers real change for young people at risk in Queensland.

And he congratulated the project's nine graduates in working hard to "make the right choices in life."

The project received another surprise cheque for $5,000 from the Rotary Club of Rockhampton North.



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