Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

'Doing Good Work with Families'

A young man from Mt Liebig community, Zachius Turner celebrated his Year 12 Graduation from Clontarf College in Perth, WA. Zachius is from a remote community in the Northern Territory called Mt Liebig. He is the first young man from his home community to complete his senior school studies and graduate with his Year 12 certificate.

It goes without saying that his family and friends are immensely proud of this achievement. Zachius has shown determination, self- discipline and dedication to complete his studies.

For those who know the difficulties and the logistics involved in getting young people from remote locations in the Northern Territory to high school, you would know that this achievement has had it’s personal trials. Mt Liebig is located in the foothills of beautiful ranges 260kms from the nearest city centre Alice Springs. To attend high school at Alice Springs, young people must leave their community and family and move into boarding schools across the country. This means adapting to new environments, making new friends from all states and territories, speaking another language and learning in a new structure.

Zachius came to board at Yirara College, in Alice Springs where he completed his early high school studies before moving to Clontarf College.

A lot of organising and support is needed to make this transition to boarding school a success. The Waltja Youth Reconnect Program, Yirara College, Mt Liebig local services, NPY Women’s Council and family members all worked together to provide support to Zachius during school, after hours and the school holiday periods. Without this continuous wrap around support, the challenges that young people like Zachius need to overcome can often result in them leaving high school and returning home.

For a young person from a remote community going to boarding school hundreds to thousands of kilometres away from your home is a challenge that most of us take for granted. Leaving family, country and culture behind to step into another environment is one of the biggest decisions a young person has to make.

Zachius’s story should highlight what is needed for all young people to have the opportunity to fulfill their ambitions and hopes for the future.

Congratulations to everyone who completed their year 11 or 12. Well done!