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Maiye provides proud voice for Class of 2019

Schools

Maiye Rigney was “surprised and humbled” to be the first Aboriginal student invited to give the prestigious responder speech at this month’s merit award ceremony at Government House.

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The St Michael’s College graduate, who received three merits for English, society and culture, and the research project, said it was an “honour” to speak on behalf of her fellow SACE students from the Class of 2019.

A citizen of the Ngarrindjeri nation in the River Murray, Southern Fleurieu Peninsula and Coorong region and a citizen of South Australia, Maiye said throughout her school life – which included primary years at Our Lady of the Visitation at Taperoo – she was always happy to share stories about her Aboriginality with her peers.

“I am extremely proud of my culture and heritage,” she told The Southern Cross. “My grandfather and dad are Ngarrindjeri and I have been taught about my stories, language and my ruwe (lands and waters) and so I have a strong sense of who I am.”

With only a small number of Aboriginal students at St Michael’s, Maiye said one of her fondest memories from high school was being part of the Long Walk in Melbourne, an event established by AFL player Michael Long to raise awareness about Indigenous issues.

Admitting she studied “extremely hard” during Year 12, Maiye said she tried to balance her time by catching up with family and friends, going to the gym and surf lifesaving commitments at Semaphore.

She was thrilled to achieve an ATAR of 96.5 and this year is studying occupational therapy at UniSA.

Besides congratulating her fellow merit recipients, in her speech at the awards ceremony Maiye took the opportunity to acknowledge those students whose aspirations for their SACE studies in 2019 “didn’t quite work out the way they hoped they might”.

“To those in such a situation I say education and knowledge acquisition is a life-long journey,” she said.

“Your futures are not solely determined by the results of 2019 and whether aspirations for our SACE were achieved or not, the measure of our character is how we respond to the next set of challenges that await – be they in returning to study, further study, employment or another pathway.”

A total of 269 students from Catholic schools were awarded 312 SACE merit certificates at the ceremony on February 4.

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