Minyerri scholars Macquarie bound

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Two high-achieving Minyerri School students are set to enter Macquarie University.

Zaccur Walden and Shemianne Farrell have just finished a 10-week pre-university course at Wuyagiba.

The south-east Arnhem Land community contains the Wuyagiba Regional Study Hub, partnered by the university, and dedicated to making university education more accessible to isolated Aboriginal students.

Minyerri School employment pathways teacher, Jess Maguire, said the homeland course is a Learning on Country program generating a two-way exchange of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal knowledge.

“It’s been an opportunity for Zaccur and Shemianne to take the cultural content taught by elders and use it to develop academic skills like referencing, readings and debates,” she said.

“They are the first students from our Employment Pathways to qualify for university, and both will enrol when they turn 18.

“Meantime, Zaccur wants to maintain the local community gardens, while Shemianne completes Year 12.

“They will return to Wuyagiba for an extra unit of study, and work as assistants to teachers, before commencing tertiary study in Sydney.”

Ms Maguire said the students have attracted “a great deal of praise” in the wide community and younger students know they can “shoot for higher goals”.

“Both students have a great work ethic, attend school regularly, and complete assessments on time,” she said.

“Zaccur has constantly worked to improve his education, and build his resilience and emotional maturity.

“Shemianne is a strong writer and elected to stay at Minyerri School, rather than return to boarding school.

“Before opting for university she was enrolled in our vocational education and training pathway — and on her way to station work.”

Shemianne will pursue a law degree. Zaccur will study law, or music and media.

Zaccurr with his aunt Beth and uncle Darren
Zaccurr with his aunt Beth and uncle Darren.

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