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Connecting To Her Community Was More Than A Little Faith

Thursday 15 December 2022

Faith is the first of her siblings to complete the SACE, leaning on its flexibility and freedom… and her determination to connect

Web Content Display (Global)

For Faith Morgan, completing the SACE was a family first, and hopefully not last.

“I'm the first of 11 to complete my SACE,” Faith said of the achievement. “I feel like it makes my younger siblings want to achieve it because I did. I feel like they could look at me as a role model now.”

Faith has just completed her SACE at Renmark High School. Raised by her Nan, she is the 8th youngest of 11 children but the first in her family to study past year 10. Her Stage 2 subjects include English, Maths, and Digital Media, and she attributes part of her successful journey to the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy (SAASTA).

“With SAASTA I get to learn a bit more about my culture, through completing different tasks. And by completing those tasks, I also got SACE points.”

Whilst the integrated learning credits helped Faith thrive in her SACE journey, it also helped her find closer belonging in the Riverland.

“I felt more connected to my community, and I was able to bond with students like me.”

For Faith, that part of the journey won’t end with the completion of her SACE and achieving an ATAR. The next step for her is into youth work.
“I want to be connected to my community. I want to work with Aboriginal youth because I was also part of a youth group and I really liked that too.”

It probably makes sense that when we asked Faith for advice on how to navigate senior school, she leant on her community again.

“The most important advice I'd give is to ask for help when you need it. Don't just think that you can do it on your own… ask your teachers or peers for help.

“I feel like Ms Turnbull and some other teachers have helped me because when I wanted to find out what I could do after school... they would talk to me and discuss my options.”

Martine Turnbull, Faith’s teacher at Renmark High, has enjoyed watching Faith grow.

“She's a real jewel.”

Ms Turnbull describes Faith as a quiet achiever: “I've known Faith for a long time, she is a perfect example of 'walking in two worlds'. She is culturally strong and proud, respectful of her community elders and family but is also able to be successful within school culture. She could very easily fly under the radar. She's just quietly worked away, but she is at every class, every lesson, always punctual regardless of any challenges, taking it in and getting better at everything. She is very successful at both school and sport, but she never brags. She doesn't talk about it, she just gets on with it. “

From Ms Turnbull’s experience, the SAASTA program helped bridge the gap between cultural learning and the structure of traditional senior learning.

“She's a very, very strong community girl, does a lot within the community and looks after a lot of children, really good with old people. But she just does it in that sort of quiet understated way. That's just who she is. But she does it anyway, you know? Always there. It’s quite a powerful thing to watch actually.”

As the SACE Board continues to shape education so that students thrive [PDF 2.43MB], development of the Recognition of Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Learning project continues into 2023. Whilst Renmark High School was not part of the initial pilot, it’s future students like Faith who will benefit from its flexibility.