Shantae’s star shines bright as she completes Year 12

Year 12 can be a juggle at the best of times, but Shantae Barnes-Cowan has taken multi-tasking during her last year of schooling to a whole new level.

The 18-year-old actress, who is an Adnyamathanha woman from Whyalla, has filmed two movies and a mini-series on sets in Queensland, Western Australia, Coober Pedy and Adelaide while completing her Year 12 studies.

She is also one of 157 young people in care – either living with foster and kinship carers or in residential care – who received a certificate to recognise reaching the end of Year 12 at a ceremony at Government House on Monday, December 6.

Shantae said the support of her ‘two big families’, which includes her foster mum and dad Jeanette and Steve Cowan, and three sisters and seven brothers, has helped her successfully juggle her busy 2021 schedule.

“Education is so important because it’s getting you ready for the future and I’ve been so lucky to have the support of my loved ones and to have been able to seek out support when I need it,” Shantae said.

“I’m passionate about my culture, my family and friends and my education.

“Culture is important for how we portray ourselves, where we belong and what we believe in.

“Even when things get tough, it helps to have a goal that you’re working towards that will make you feel happy and proud of yourself.

“In the future I hope to continue acting and pursing my dream. I hope to keep aiming high and I also want to be more of a role model for my town and the young Aboriginal kids who live there.”

Shantae is currently filming the eight-part fantasy TV series Firebite in Adelaide. She plays the lead role of Shanika, an Aboriginal Australian hunter battling a colony of vampires in the middle of the South Australian desert. Shantae also completed filming on Wyrmwood Apocalypse and Sweet As this year, with both set for release in 2022.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson praised the young people in care who completed Year 12 in 2021.

“Year 12 studies are not always easy to navigate and as their dedicated Minister, I’m proud of the strength and determination our young people in care have shown as they work towards achieving their dreams and aspirations,” said Minister Sanderson.

“To the young people in care who have completed Year 12 – a big congratulations, it is a huge achievement.”

Minister Sanderson also congratulated the 196 young people in care who have completed Year 11 and are one step closer to completing their schooling journey.

“It is essential that every child and young person in care receives quality education, learning and support,” said Minister Sanderson.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with the Department for Education so we can continue to improve outcomes for children and young people in care so they can learn, thrive and look forward to a bright future.”

Recent Marshall Liberal Government education initiatives include:

  • Partnering with the Department for Education on a joint Plan of Action 2020-21 designed to support better educational outcomes for children and young people in care.
  • Dedicated new funding, through the Children in Care service, to support children and young people in care at key transition points in their schooling, like starting a new high school.
  • Partnering with Catholic Education to support scholarships for children and young people in care.
  • Partnering with SEDA college SA to award scholarships to young people in care so they can pursue their passion for sport.

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