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Recently 20 Souths Cares HSC students attended the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) Graduation event held in their honour at Australian Technology Park Eveleigh.

The Year 12 students form part of the 50 strong cohort of Indigenous students that are mentored by Rhys Wesser and Kiara Maza as part of the Australian Government’s School to Work Transition Program.

“The success of these students has taken our Program’s completion rate to 100% which is an increase on the students’ efforts for 2013,” said Rhys.

“This outcome demonstrates that the Program is working and Souths Cares are on the right track in the way we mentor students and provide them with ongoing support.”

Rhys said the Program is offered to all Year 10-12 Indigenous students from the South Sydney catchment area and assists in helping them to realise their potential.

“Among other things the Program offers a range of support to students such as one-on-one mentoring, assistance with homework and tutoring, access to training and traineeships,” he said.

“We also ensure that the Program is delivered in a culturally sensitive way.”

But the Graduation was all about the graduates, as it should be.  The ceremony commenced with a Welcome to Country, included formalities, a student question and answers session, and concluded with a presentation of graduation certificates.

Kiara said that in addition to the students being in attendance family, friends, community leaders and teaching staff, added to the ambience of the morning with their presence.

“Former Rabbitohs legend, Nathan Merritt, spoke to the students about resilience, determination, his personal journey and techniques he has adopted to stay on track and obtain his personal goals,” said Kiara.

“Two of our keynote speakers, Principal Robyn Matthews and Coordinator Jenny Wilson, both from Souths Sydney High School, spoke on the importance Souths Cares plays in their school community and the benefits their students have received as being part of the Program.”

“In fact, two of South Sydney High School’s students have just commenced law at university while another has commenced work as a teachers’ aide and a fourth is working fulltime at QANTAS.

Kiara said the students who graduated from the Program include:


Jasmin Allende

Kirsty Beller

Emily Cooley

Waveney Davidson

John Edwards

Binawee Gowans

Shiana Honeysett

Akeisha Kelly

Amanada Longbottom

Jessie McCubbin

Brent Newport

Nina Slemnik

Karlie Stewart

Simone Taylor

Hayden Towns


Amanda Wallance

Teahne Lyons

Stephanie Williams

Katelyn Russell


“These students are both role models and future community leaders.

“The entire Souths Cares team are very happy to be part of celebrations and are excited about what opportunities their collective futures may deliver.”

*The School to Work Program is funded by the Australian Government
Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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