Saturday, August 02, 2008

one indigenous boy's story

Young Australian indigenous students have a far better chance of success in life if they leave their remote communities and attend boarding school in the metropolis.

Read the story of Cyril Johnson, a year 11 student at Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview, on Sydney's North Shore, One teenage boy says it all

Sue and Bucky kept looking after me and I became a part of their family and they adopted me, due to the thumbs up from my mum. I could tell Rebecca, my adopted sister, things I hadn't told anyone before and I wouldn't understand why she would get all emotional and start crying.

I told her what it was like not to have eaten for two weeks. You start getting pains in your stomach, your head starts spinning and you feel dizzy and weak...

It took me a while to see a new way of life. When Sue and Bucky had a few drinks at Christmas night I just thought it would turn to violence, but surprisingly it didn't. I'd just gotten so used to people drinking and being violent...

My first days at Riverview [last year] were difficult - I was so scared. I hated it so much. I hated everything … It was so different. The city was big, flash, full of cars; the school looked like a castle. I went into the dorms and they were really small and I had this massive room to myself … I felt so lonely, empty and frightened. I didn't move from that room for a week. I was shy. [Then] Ed McManus came into my room and I asked him for some help to fix my fan. He really helped me and I think that was the first friend I had made ...

I have moved away from my family to attend this fine school. I am the first person in my family to have received my School Certificate. I have travelled overseas … I am determined to finish year 11 and 12. I will be the first person in my family to receive my Higher School Certificate and maybe even the first to attend university.

It wasn't until I started going back over my life that I truly realised exactly how far I have come and how much further I can go.

There are many disadvantaged children out there, living the life I used to. I really hope that in the future that I can give back and help all Australians, especially indigenous Australians

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