St Andrew's Cathedral School

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Education opportunity of a lifetime for female First Nations students

From left to right: Aunty Gail Mabo, Mr Alan Docherty (CBA Group Executive and CFO), Winda and Mizpah (Year 7), Mr Amo Tauialo (Group Auditor), Dr Julie McGonigle (Head of School), Pastor Ray Minniecon, Mr John Ralph (Head of Gawura)

A scholarship programme is empowering the lives of First Nations students thanks to an exciting partnership between St Andrew’s Cathedral School and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

Officially beginning in Term 1 this year, the scholarships cover the education costs for 10 female First Nations students from Years 7 to 12.

The recipients have all graduated from Gawura, which is St Andrew’s Cathedral School’s ‘school within a school’ for First Nations students from Kindergarten to Year 6.

Established in 2007, Gawura was named 2020 Australian School of the Year and is a highly regarded model for Indigenous education.

It was founded by Indigenous Elders, for Indigenous students, and its success has been attributed to positive engagement with students’ parents, families and carers, which has resulted in a 93 per cent attendance rate.

CBA will also provide mentoring opportunities for scholarship recipients.

CBA Indigenous Advisory Council member, Aunty Gail Mabo, will support the students as a Cultural Elder. Aunty Gail said: “Through this initiative, we are taking a significant step towards promoting inclusivity and celebrating the cultural diversity of our communities and building a more equitable society.”

Dr McGonigle said: “We are delighted to be part of a programme that seamlessly links a student’s learning environment into workplace opportunities – all in a way that is supportive of their First Nations identity and culture.

“Gawura wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of our incredible donors. I want to sincerely thank CBA for supporting our First Nations students as they continue their educational journey at St Andrew’s Cathedral School. Together we are bridging worlds and building futures.”

CBA Group Auditor Amo Tauialo said: “I’m proud that through our work we are strengthening community relationships with First Nations people and creating new pathways to education and employment as we build a brighter future for all. I’m pleased to see our Scholarships programme gain momentum as we welcome St Andrew’s Cathedral and Gawura schools as our second partner.”