On Thursday 7th May, thirty students participating in Alice Spring’s Follow The Dream program formally made their commitment to their education at a ‘Compact Signing’ event held at The Mercure Hotel. They were supported at the evening event by their families and carers, representatives from Centralian Middle School and Centralian Senior College, and members of the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation. Follow The Dream has been supporting Aboriginal students in Alice Springs for over ten years.

Special guest, Ken Lechleitner – community leader, advocate, author and university graduate – gave the key note address at the event. He spoke about the value of education for Aboriginal students, the importance of being prepared, and how to develop strategies to overcome obstacles and achieve goals.

The ‘Compact Signing’ event is an important milestone in students’ educational journey. When students enrol on Follow The Dream, they make a formal commitment to the program and their education by signing a contract, known as the ‘Compact’, which is also signed by all of the Program Partners. This process is a formal acknowledgement of everyone’s role, responsibility and accountability in ensuring that the students have the encouragement and support to succeed at school and pursue their ambitions.

Follow The Dream, managed by The Graham Polly Farmer Foundation, is a national academic enrichment program that supports Aboriginal students to complete their secondary education and move into successful post-school pathways, including university, skill training, apprenticeships and direct employment. While secondary students in Alice Springs can join Follow The Dream, all primary school students in Alice Springs have the opportunity to participate in two primary programs: Learning Clubs (held at Bradshaw Primary School and Gillen Primary School) and a Maths & Science Centre of Excellence (held at Centralian Middle School).

Virginia Morley, Follow The Dream Program Coordinator at Centralian Middle School, comments: “It’s fantastic to see the commitment made by so many students in Alice Springs and the strong level of support they receive from their families, schools, the wider community, the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation, and the Australian Government. We all look forward to supporting the students throughout their educational journey and helping them to strive for excellence.”

The Alice Springs Follow The Dream program currently has thirty participating students who can attend the program up to four afternoons per week after school at either Centralian Middle School or Centralian Senior College.

After enjoying a healthy afternoon snack, students receive specialist tuition from a team of dedicated tutors, mentoring and advice, career pathway planning, academic enrichment, and pastoral support. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a range of excursions and trips, including an Educational, Career, Leadership and Culture Camp to Cairns. This year, five Year 12 students are looking forward to graduating from school and moving into successful post-school pathways.

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