Featured News Indigenous students excel at Winter School

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Thu, 30 Jun 2022

Indigenous students excel at Winter School

Alt text Winter School main
Janita Ahwang, from Cairns, and Townsville’s Ammon Phineasa celebrate graduating from James Cook University’s Winter School program.

The next generation of Indigenous leaders has been given a taste of life at James Cook University, as the annual Winter School draws to a close.

About 100 Year 10, 11 and 12 students from some of the most remote parts of Australia participated in the five-day program, where they were able to live on JCU’s Bebegu Yumba Campus in Townsville, listen to academic lectures, and participate in team-building activities in an interactive program that provides opportunities to meet university staff and students.

JCU Indigenous Student Support Advisor Eddie Savage said it was wonderful to see the students get insights into several fields of study offered at the university, including science, engineering, health and Indigenous studies.

“It gives students who are living in those remote areas an opportunity to come and experience university life, and that could be life-changing,” Mr Savage said.

“Some of our students who first participated in Winter School back in Year 10 come back in Year 12 and you can just see the maturity they have developed around study.

“They have more confidence about them, knowing that they can start looking towards university.”

Mr Savage said JCU’s Indigenous Education and Research Centre, which facilitated the program, helped showcase the strong support available to Indigenous students.

In Townsville alone, the Centre has more than 10 Student Support staff across a range of academic fields, runs an Indigenous Peer Assisted Learning tutoring program, and is now offering Indigenous Student On-Campus Accommodation Scholarships.

“For the students participating in Winter School, they’re able to build friendships with other students and establish a good rapport with the Centre,” Mr Savage said.

“It’s put them in good stead for when they decide to come to university and they can see how many Indigenous students there are.

“It gives a really family-orientated sense around study.”

The program, which selects students based on academic merit, ended with a graduation ceremony today where students were presented with a Certificate of Attainment.

Mr Savage encouraged Indigenous students considering applying for Winter School next year to “never give up on their goals”.

“Give yourself every opportunity to be the person you want to be,” he said.

“A Higher Education can allow that to happen.”


Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au