Surprise award for Shalom College

June 3, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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An indigenous student residing at Sydney’s Shalom College has nominated her hosts for an award which the college won.

Kiarna Steinmann, Josh Moxey, Jessica Clark and Matthew Taylor

Kiarna Steinmann, Josh Moxey, Jessica Clark and Matthew Taylor

Shalom College has won the Pauline McLeod Reconciliation Award 2015 for higher education.

The award was made in recognition of the support and encouragement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students provided by the Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Scholarship Program at Shalom College, University of NSW.

Dr Hilton Immerman, College Head, explained: “Unbeknown to us, we were nominated by one of our Indigenous scholarship students, Jessica Clark.  We are delighted to have received this award and feel certain that it is the support our students give each other and the effort and attitude of all our residents, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, which fosters our warm and productive environment.  I’m very grateful to Jessica for thinking of us in this way.”

Jessica responded, “I’m very happy that Shalom won this award given all the work that is done so that we can live here. The impact of this on my education, and that of many others, cannot be emphasised enough.”

The Pauline McLeod Awards for Reconciliation are a significant annual event providing the community the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements, big and small, of local people and organisations.  Pauline McLeod was a leader in the field of cultural education and the Awards honour her legacy. They are issued by the Eastern Region Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum which includes the councils of the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Leichhardt and Botany.

In 2011, Shalom Gamarada won the Limelight Award in the category of “Leading innovation in Indigenous Student Recruitment Support and Graduation”.  The LIME Network is a Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Project and is supported by the Australian Government.

The Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Scholarship Program began in 2005 with one student.  It has now assisted a total of 70 students with 15 who have graduated to date, including 10 Aboriginal doctors – six of whom graduated on the 15th December 2014.  Our 2011 agreement and work with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation has helped us grow the program significantly.

Indigenous students commonly suffer from serious educational and socio-economic disadvantage and very high drop-out rates from universities. But for 5 years now Shalom Gamarada students have achieved a pass rate of over 90% – which is significantly higher than the prevailing pass rate of non-Indigenous Australian students in long-haul courses like Medicine and Law.

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