Over 30 year 12 students from Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Aspire Program are set to celebrate their graduation this Friday, November 25 in a ceremony held at the CDU Casuarina Campus.
The Aspire program supports students in year 11 and 12, who may struggle to access higher education due to disadvantage, through their final years of high school to encourage a seamless and supportive pathway into university.
As part of the program, community service projects, speaker forums, coaching and tutoring support enabled students to gain confidence, improve their communication skills, and decide on what they want to study after high school.
Out of 33 in total, 19 students from Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Tiwi Islands will attend the ceremony.
CDU Aspire Program Officer Louise Turner said the program has been running for a decade, and provides a range of new opportunities for prospective university students.
“We believe every young person in the Northern Territory should have equitable access to tertiary education,” Ms Turner said.
“The Aspire program offers that sense of connection, inspiration and support that is so vital during the final years of high school, so students can have a clearer idea of higher education, possible careers and life-long learning pursuits.”
Three camps held at the CDU Casuarina campus helped participants to connect with CDU students, staff, alumni and the broader community.
Student Riley Bennett, 18, from Alice Springs, said being part of the Aspire program had opened their eyes to new ideas and opportunities for study after high school.
“I am looking forward to graduating but it will be bittersweet, as I’ve made friends through the Aspire program and had such great support for my future education,” Mx Bennett said.
“I would definitely recommend this experience to others because it gives you a better understanding of university life, what courses you might be interested in and what career that can lead to.
“I’m interested in writing so I hope to study a Bachelor of Arts at CDU.”
CDU Student Engagement Director Sarah Fletcher said the connections between the Aspire team and participating students contributes significantly to the program’s success.
“Our team have an important role to play in the lives of the young people that join our program,” Ms Fletcher said.
“As mentors, we help guide them to future study but also ensure they have someone to talk to about any worries they may have about finishing high school and starting a new chapter in their lives.”
The ceremony will be held at the Mal Nairn Auditorium at the CDU Casuarina Campus from 4:30pm – 6:00pm on Friday, November 25.