It was a special ceremony for indigenous students, especially females students at Singleton High School today with the launch of their Girls Academy.
On hand to unveil a plaque to mark and occasion were patrons of the organisation NSW Governor David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley.
The Girls Academy was first started in Western Australia and and is now a national organisation providing assistance/mentoring through high school for female indigenous students.
It has similarities to the Clontarf Foundation for boys.
Girls who have attended the Academy, now available at 43 schools nationally, have achieved improved school attendance and significantly higher year 12 graduation rates.
The Academy also provides post school assistance for its former students.
Governor Hurley speaking at the launch to the students, teachers, family members and state and local government representatives said the Girls Academy creates opportunities for everyone to play a role in their community.
“It opens doors and eyes to the students to see those opportunities. Finishing school opens opportunities and the students see how they can make a difference to their lives and their communities,” he said.
Calling for change he said we needed to lift the NSW rate of female indigenous university graduates from 1.4 per cent and also the post-graduate figure from 1 per cent.
Funding for the Academy comes from governments, schools and corporate sponsors.
Founder and CEO of Girls Academy Ricky Grace said the Academy employed 20 staff in NSW and 80 per cent of those were successful indigenous women who were committed to make a difference in the girls lives.
Academy Program Manager at Singleton High School Renee MacDonald was herself a former student at the school and she said she never expected to come back and work at there but was delighted to be working in a very supportive environment.
The Academy currently has 35 students who can use their own room and staff for assistance with the aim to ensure they complete their schooling and achieve their best while at school in an environment that is caring but also enjoyable.