All Year 12 students within the Souths Cares Nanga Mai Marri Program are celebrating the successful obtainment of their HSC.
The Nanga Mai Marri Program* is supported by the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy and is an extension of the Learn Earn Legend! School to Work Program delivered by Souths Cares.
Since the Program’s commencement in 2010, student completion rates have steadily increased under the guidance of Souths Cares Staff and Mentors, including Kiara Maza, Beau Champion and Nathan Merritt.
General Manager of Souths Cares, Brock Schaefer, stated: “The effort and character of these young Indigenous Men and Women must be applauded.
“The role of Souths Cares is to work collaboratively with teachers, community leaders and industry to create a positive education experience for these great young people.
“We are extremely lucky at Souths Cares to be able to support our students through our relationships with fantastic community organisations like Crown Resorts, Sydney TAFE and the University of Sydney.”
School to Work Mentor, Kiara Maza, congratulated her students on their achievements.
“Our students have worked really hard over the past twelve months and their efforts are reflected in the results,” she said.
“What the results tell us is that at Souths Cares we are successfully doing our bit to support our local students and close the gap in education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.”
Kiara said that much of the success of the Program comes down to students forming a clearer understanding of their cultural identity.
“Some students have a great understanding of their culture and sense of belonging while others need a little support to make those connections,” she explained.
“Connectedness to culture and community is essential to how to make sense of things and engage with the communities we live in.
“Once these issues are addressed the students feel more confident in their own skins - a have a clearer sense of identity and purpose.”
Kiara said that the Program is lucky to have the support of Souths Cares Ambassadors Nathan Merritt and Beau Champion, who regularly join the mentors in working with the students.
“’Merro’ and ‘Champ’ are great Indigenous role models for our students,” she said.
“Both men have achieved at a high level in their professional football careers and they are well respected by community.
“The students can learn a lot from their experiences and benefit from the support they lend to our Program.
“Souths Cares would like to congratulate each student on completing their education and wish them every success in transitioning to either employment or further education.
“Souths Cares will continue to mentor the students for a further six months, assisting them in their transition phase which has its challenges given the students will be wanting to take a break from study especially after they have just completed 12 years of school.
“We will be reminding them that they are just at the beginning of their journey and we’ll be providing them with all the support we can.”
Souths Cares would like to acknowledge and thank the Principals, Aboriginal Support Staff and Teachers at J. J. Cahill Memorial High, Matraville Sports High, Tempe High, South Sydney High, and Alexandria Park Community School (Snr Campus) for allowing them to work so closely with the students.
In the year ahead Souths Cares will be mentoring a cohort of around 60 students with approximately 16 of them sitting their HSC examinations later in the year.
*The School To Work Program mentors students from Years 10 to 12 at South Sydney, Matraville Sports, J. J. Cahill Memorial, and Tempe high schools and Alexandria Park Community School (Snr Campus), and is supported by the Commonwealth Government.