Today, I am so fortunate to be part of UWA Aspire High School Outreach Programme. Girawheen SHS has a special place in my heart because in 2013, I spent a fantastic and unforgettable week with students and teachers from Girawheen SHS in a Math Summer School Camp. I have always wanted to go back to the school and inspire more students to further their education beyond high school. I have always fundamentally believe that all young Australians should have a fair go in education and strongly believe that education is a right, not a priority. Hence, I try to reach out to as many students as I can, hoping to spread my believe, inspiring more young Australians to pursue education and the chance to change their lives.
Today I am so fortunate to work with a group of Year 10 students. These students have to select their subjects in a few weeks time and UWA is trying to help these students to choose their subjects wisely. As the students were immersed in their activities today, I was walking around them and suddenly a student raised his hand and I approached him. I greeted him with a smile. His voice was trembling and sounded a little insecure as he asked “What is ATAR? What is TEA?”
I smiled, sat down and talked to him. His tone, despite the tremble and sense of insecurity, I could tell that he was serious about university. He wanted to go to university. He wanted to know more and I was more than eager and excited to share with him everything about university. From his soft, trembling voice, I could sense that he was a little helpless. As he gradually opened up and spoke more, I was glad I stopped by and had a chat with him. He told me about his studies, he asked me about ATAR, he asked me how could he get into UWA, yes he specified UWA. He told me about his Italian background and how in his family, going to university does not seem like an important thing. This boy, at such a young age, is serious about getting an education in university. Despite lack of support from home, his words and actions showed that he is such a mature boy at his age. I felt like I wanted to talk more to him but time eventually runs out, like always.
I left the school today feeling bittersweet for the boy. I am happy, as he told me that Aspire UWA was the first point of contact that has inspired him to further his education. I am happy for him, for he is such a matured boy at his age. I am happy for him, for he foresees that education is the key to open more doors of opportunities in the future. At the same time, I feel sad for him. Coming from a low socioeconomic high school and a family that lack support in education, I feel like he is a true gem inside and I hope one day he is able let his inner gem glow and shine. As I left the school today, my mind went blank for a while, recounting the conversation that I had with this boy. He reminded me how grateful I should be that my family supported my decision to pursue my dream degree in university. He made me feel that my work with UniDiscovery and Aspire throughout the years are worthwhile. He reaffirmed my believe in education equality for all, something I will always believe strongly. He reminded me there are still many young children out there who are not getting a fair go in education. He made me feel I want to help him more. Leaving the school with a million thoughts, I wished the boy all the best in his studies but most of all I told him, “I’ll see you at UWA one day.”