Years after graduating secondary school, Wongatha woman Candice Matthews has gone on to become a coordinator for the very same program that inspired her to stay focused on education and reach her goals.
Ms Matthews, based at Albany Senior High School, is the first Polly Farmer Foundation Follow the Dream graduate to work as a coordinator of that program.
The Follow the Dream program supports the aspirations of Aboriginal students to successfully complete secondary school and provides access to tutoring and mentoring opportunities to enable them to excel.
Ms Matthews supports students at Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker and Jerramungup.
As part of her role, Ms Matthews said she helps build support networks and create opportunities for Aboriginal students to thrive.
“Working in the role of the Follow the Dream coordinator at Albany Senior High School, I get to be instrumental in helping other students just like myself achieve their goals,” she said.
“I am meeting with members of the community to ensure all support networks are there to help students achieve their goals. I am also responsible for overseeing a tutoring program for Aboriginal students after school.
“I am in the process of organising camps with opportunities and experiences for the students to participate in, targeting their interests in different careers for the future and providing cultural enrichment activities and connecting with the wider community.”
Ms Matthews graduated from Kalgoorlie Follow the Dream in 2010 and said the program led her on a path to success.
“It can be challenging to stay focused on education and reach your goals when you are young, but Follow the Dream made all the difference for me,” she said.
“The camps I attended through Follow the Dream also had a lasting impact on my future. On a career camp, I met the staff at the UWA School of Indigenous Studies, which made my transition to university so much smoother. My brother and I are the first in our family to attend university, and Follow the Dream provided us with the support we needed to make that happen.
“I attended university to become a teacher and since then I've taught Humanities and Social Sciences in Karratha. And at each of those schools, I've also been a dedicated tutor with Follow the Dream.”