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Grace’s encounter with royalty


Samaritan College Year 8 student Grace Smallacombe will have plenty of exciting news to tell her friends when she gets back to school next term after a face-to-face meeting with His Royal Highness Prince of Wales last Friday.

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Grace and college principal Damien Judd were special guests of businessman Sanjeev Gupta when Prince Charles launched the Australian GFG Industrial Cadets Program in Brisbane on April 6.

Mr Gupta’s company, GFG Alliance, now owns the Whyalla steelworks and a team from the steel city were flown to Queensland for the event at Government House.

Grace said she was “quite overwhelmed” when she learnt she was to represent Whyalla school students at the launch. Protocol demanded that she had to keep her attendance secret until after the event when she was presented with an official photograph showing her and Mr Judd chatting with Prince Charles.

“When I first found out I was going I thought Mum was joking. I was pretty overwhelmed,” she told The Southern Cross from Queensland.

“The response from my friends since I could share the photo has been amazing and they’ve all been saying how lucky I was and been very supportive. My phone has really been on the go!”

Grace said Prince Charles thanked her for coming to the event and noted that the travel to Brisbane must have taken a long time. He also asked her about what she might do after she finished school.

“He was very nice and said he hoped I enjoyed myself (at the event).”

Grace said in the lead up to meeting Prince Charles she had been thinking about engineering as a career and hearing about the new cadet program had “got her brain switching over”.

The Australian program is modelled on a similar one supported by GFG in the UK. It will help to breathe new life into the future of Australian manufacturing by giving young people direct, structured experience of the industry while they are still at school or college.

To top off what has been an exciting week for 13-year-old Grace she is now attending the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast with her family, which is also “pretty awesome”.






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