NAIDOC teenager first in family to graduate

ROHAN COOK

Gold Coast teenager Beryl Compton, 17, will this year become the first member of her family in decades to graduate high school.

And while the Miami High School student is excited by the milestone so too are her thrilled parents.

“They are so proud of me they can’t stop bragging about it,” the Gubi Gubi teenager gushed, “I have my step dad counting down the days to when I finish. That shocked me.”

“It’s a pretty big and scary thing I guess. I’ll be the first person in my family to graduate for about 3 generations.”

While celebrating NAIDOC week on Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus Ms Compton reflected of the struggles her parents and ancestors endured so she can enjoy the educational opportunities she has today.

“They had to fight for what we have today and that [was] the main issue,’ she said, “They had to put their energy into fighting [rather] than … education.”

“[Now] we‘re sitting here on Griffith University … that’s freedom right there.”

Beryl3

Beryl Compton at Griffith University during NAIDOC Week.  Photo: Rohan Cook

Griffith University’s Indigenous Learning Assistance Officer Rennae Waters said more than ever young indigenous women like Ms Compton are finishing high school and going to university.

“The opportunities that are afforded our people now are greater,” Ms Waters said, “and a lot of them are the first in their families to attend university.”

“So they’re grateful for the opportunities that are being afforded them that wasn’t given to their parents or grandparents”

And now Ms Compton has her sights set on university but with a sporting twist.

“I’m happy to learn anything I guess [but] in line with … architecture,” she said.

“I’m [also] going to focus on rugby sevens. I actually played with the Griffith Uni girls here – it was an awesome experience.”

Ms Compton’s big day arrives in November.

 

[print story also published 1st August Gold Coast Bulletin pg 3]

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