Stars in the House

A formal welcome to Parliament House by the Speaker topped off a fantastic day out for some of our Year 12 Casuarina Stars last week!

Our Stars were super excited to be welcomed to the Legislative Assembly by the Hon. Ngaree Ah Kit, where they were attending Question Time.

“Honourable Members, I advise of the presence in the gallery of Year 12 Stars Foundation students from Casuarina Senior College … On behalf of Honourable Members I extend a warm welcome, in particular to my niece, Alyssa. Good to see you bub!”

Casuarina Stars Program Coordinator, Kylie Duggan, was also publicly acknowledged by the Minister for Water Security, The Hon. Eva Lawler, for her stellar sporting achievements in both AFLW and basketball.

Before attending Question Time, our Stars were met by the Hon. Lauren Moss, Minister for Education, who hosted a lunch especially for them.

During the lunch, several Ministers came into the room to yarn with the girls, including The Hon. Selena Uibo, The Hon. Mark Monaghan, The Hon. Joel Bowden and the Hon. Ngaree Ah Kit.

Such a wonderful experience for our young women!


Heatley Rock Stars Shine!

These three Heatley Rock Stars shone this week, when they each completed their first official interview for hospitality roles at Townsville’s new stadium – and were offered positions on the spot!

As part of Stars’ focus on successful transitions into work or further study after graduation, our Mentors and Transitions Managers work hard to prepare young women for the moment they have their first job interview.

It’s not always easy for young people to sell themselves to a potential employer, but Stars focuses on ensuring they not only have the documents they need, but also the confidence to put their strengths on display.

It was wonderful to see how proud these three deadly young women were once they had completed their interviews and had received job offers.

This is just the beginning – and the world is their oyster!


Another Scholarship Star!

Townsville Stars 2019 graduate, Chantelle Markham, has been awarded a Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship for 2021!

Chantelle is currently studying Occupational Therapy at James Cook University and the scholarship will help her to finish her degree and fund placements in remote communities.

“I was very excited when I received the email telling me that I had been successful!” Chantelle said.

“It makes me even more motivated to do well in my studies and fulfil my dream of becoming an Occupational Therapist.”

“When I finish my course, I want to work in remote Indigenous communities, because I know it is very hard for people living in those communities to access Allied Health services,” Chantelle says.

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) was established by the Australian Government as a tribute to the late Dr Arnold ‘Puggy’ Hunter’s outstanding contribution to Indigenous health and his role as chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

The scholarships are designed to encourage and assist undergraduate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in health-related disciplines to complete their studies and join the health workforce.

Chantelle is the second Stars graduate to receive the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship for 2021. The other is Jaimie Bryant from Katherine, who will be studying Physiotherapy at ACU in Brisbane.

Stars is so proud of both of these stellar young women and their determination to chase their dreams!


“Keep Pushing Forward!”

“Make sure you stay in school and finish Year 12! Keep pushing forward towards your dreams and don’t give up.”

That’s the message from 2018 Stars graduate, Agnes Aruba, whose dream is to work in the Australian Navy as a Chef.

As part of working towards this goal, Agnes has undertaken a Certificate III in Hospitality through the Cowboys Dream, Believe, Achieve program.

Agnes impressed her lecturers by not missing a day over the 12 weeks of the course and for showing an ability to adapt and an eagerness to learn.

In fact, her course mentor was so admiring of Agnes’s work ethic that he recommended her for a job at the local IGA, which she was successful in obtaining.

While working at the IGA, Agnes is currently completing work experience at a Townsville holiday resort, where she continues to refine her hospitality skills.

She is a super Star who is determined to achieve her dream!


Stars Wins Federal Funding

Stars Foundation is thrilled to announced that it has been awarded a Federal Government contract to expand its First Nations girls’ programs across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.

The $10m three-year contract comes after a competitive tender process and will see Stars expand to manage 20 further programs in the NT and WA, and to establish new programs in VIC and SA.

“Stars is grateful for this opportunity to provide intensive support to many more First Nations girls and young women across Australia,” Stars Founder and CEO Andrea Goddard said.

Since being established in 2015, Stars has provided evidence-based, intensive in-school support to over 1000 First Nations girls and young women, with consistently outstanding outcomes among participants.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, Stars achieved a 98 per cent Year 12 completion rate in 2020 among the senior students in our programs – a remarkable outcome for these young women. As of November 2020, 91 per cent of our 2019 graduates had successfully transitioned into work or further study.

“Our approach is to work closely with schools, communities and families to deliver the best possible outcomes for students”, Ms Goddard said. 

“We use a strengths-based model, specifically tailored to meet the needs of First Nations girls and young women, with the aim of promoting positive education, employment and life outcomes.”

Stars is overseen by an Indigenous-led Board, with the highest level of Indigenous and business leadership represented. This not only allows Stars to gain the confidence of communities and families, it also ensures that our programs reflect First Nations priorities and are responsive to community needs and feedback.

Stars Chairperson Donisha Duff said, “We are both building and modelling the futures for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women from our communities and schools and into the Boardroom”.

“It’s important for our young women to explore what is possible and what they can achieve.  They are future leaders in our communities and industry.”

It is Stars Foundation’s understanding that the NIAA will be funding the salaries of Role Models and Leaders staff while the transition to the new providers takes place and that the NIAA will be working with the new providers, including Stars, to secure employment for existing staff where agreement can be reached between the parties.


Transition into Year 12

Year 11 Townsville Stars recently enjoyed a three-day transitions camp to prepare them for Year 12 in 2021.

The camp aimed to strengthen relationships across programs, develop resilience and leadership skills, expose student to different career pathway options, and generally support the development of post-school life skills.

It was a flurry of activity, with team-building activities hosted by the local Police and Youth Community Club, a Stars ‘Amazing Race’ through the city, volunteering opportunities, a Stars careers expo, abseiling down a 20m rock face, and finally some relaxing yoga and meditation.

These deadly young women are now ready to tackle 2021 head on and push themselves to complete Year 12.

Stars Foundation would like to say a huge thank you to all of the local organisations and businesses that contributed to making the transitions camp such a success!


Bright Future for this Star!

Nhulunbuy Year 12 Stars graduate, Jessie Dargaville, has a very bright future ahead of her.

This year she achieved the top mark in the Northern Territory for English Essentials, with an astounding A+ (14.5 out of 15.0)!

When she heard the news, apart from remarking that she’s “glad it’s over!”, she did comment that her mark showed that “it was definitely worth all of the hard work I’ve put into my study” and that she feels “humbled” by the outcome.

As well as this amazing result, Jessie also received the Diligence Award at the recent Stars Presentation Night.

This is an award made each year by Aunty Andrea Collins from the National Indigenous Australians Agency to a student who has displayed exceptional commitment to her studies.

“This award goes to the young woman who consistently shows commitment, attentiveness, diligence to her studies and is always respectful. This incredible young one is an absolute gem. She is big of heart, generous with her time and her effort and her curiosity. She is so spirited, and she carries immense respect for her peers, her teachers, and her Elders. She has ambition, she has dreams for her future that she will no doubt achieve, and she has self-discipline in abundance.”

Jessie says that she is grateful for the support provided by her Mentors during her high school years and that Stars is probably “half the reason I’m graduating”.

“You have pushed me to better myself and to make not only my family, but to make you guys proud, and I hope I have. I hope the younger Stars girls realise how amazing you two [Stars Mentors] are,” she said.

“We never tell you mob enough, but you have definitely played a big part in not only my high school years, but also the rest of the girls. The love you two show us is incredible, and if I’m ever half the role models of you two, I would be beyond happy!”

“You mob and Stars never once turned me away but welcomed me with big arms and warm hearts, and I will carry that with me for a lifetime

Jessie has been accepted into the Bilata Legal Pathways Program for Indigenous students at Charles Darwin University and aims to use this fantastic opportunity to explore career options in the legal profession.

We know that whatever pathway she chooses, Jessie will achieve wonderful things in life!


Connecting with Nature

After such a challenging and uncertain year, it was wonderful to see our Year 12 Thuringowa Stars graduates able to relax and connect with nature during a trip to the beautiful North Queensland coast.

Fringed by reef and enveloped by lush rainforest, it was a fantastic place to unwind and celebrate the end of their final year of high school.

Among other things, they experienced white-water rafting in the crystal-clear waters of a densely forested gorge and snorkeled alongside sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef.

They also had the opportunity to participate in a mini-Careers Expo, put together by our Queensland Transitions Manager. 

Everyone at Stars, especially out Thuringowa State High School team, would like to congratulate these amazing Year 12 graduates. We wish them all the best as they embark on their exciting futures!


Learning Radio Skills

Our Year 7 Tennant Creek Stars have been exploring the world of radio broadcasting this year.

They’ve been attending the Barkly Arts Centre once a week and working with the staff to learn some of the skills needed to work in the industry.

During the Desert Harmony Festival, which was online this year due to COVID, many of our students had their recordings used on 8CCC Radio, and some of their interviews were filmed and shared on social media platforms.

This term the students have been taking turns interviewing one another, while also learning to use the equipment and record the interviews. Their recordings will be used in future advertisements and promotions on the station.

It has been a great way for our Stars to learn more about how a radio station works and the experience has given them an insight into potential career pathways in the media.

Special thanks to the Barkly Arts Centre for introducing our Stars to the exciting world of radio!


Students Run Opening Event

Students organised a fantastic opening event for the beautiful new Stars and Clontarf Engagement Program Precinct at Driver Primary School last week.

Local MP and NT Minister, Eva Lawler, was there to cut the ribbon alongside some very excited Driver Primary Stars and Clontarf students!

The event opened with a student-led Welcome to Country, followed by a Smoking Ceremony by Traditional Owners Shaun and Trent Lee, who are also the talented artists behind the stunning murals.

After speeches from the school Principal and local MP, our very own Year 6 Stars student, Kercharna Morgan, stood up confidently in front of the guests and spoke movingly about Stars and her Mentors:

“Stars has motivated me to come to school every day, they’re kind and supportive and also funny. What I’ve loved this year is the excursions and memories I have made here.

My favourite excursion was when we went to Katherine for the Stars Netball Carnival. There were lots of exciting things to do like swimming at the Katherine Hot Springs, playing on the jumping pillow at dinner, and especially playing netball.

These past weeks we have designed and spray-painted our art onto four walls that our Stars girls and Clontarf boys have made.

Pam and Jasmin [Stars Mentors] have always been available to provide the help and advice we need. They’re always proud when we succeed and are giving us the tools to achieve our goals all the time.”

In the lead up to the event Stars students baked cupcakes and decorated them with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag colours during recess, lunch and after school.

This job was harder than expected, with the warm and humid Darwin weather making working with fondant quite challenging, but our amazing Stars persevered – and the cupcakes were fantastic!