Graduate story: Cindy Castella
Cindy Castella has had a long association with Casino West Public School, starting as a teachers' aide a decade ago while she completed her Bachelor of Indigenous Studies.
"The best thing about Casino West personally was an instant feeling of family - a place of support, love and learning, which celebrates personal strengths and diversity.
"I love sharing my knowledge and love of Indigenous Australian cultures with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Education and reconciliation is the only way forward for this country.
"The school has an amazing sense of community and family. It operates from a strengths-based philosophy, drawing inspiration from the 'Stronger Smarter' framework of Dr Chris Sarra."
Cindy was named the Lismore City Council Aboriginal Citizen of the Year for 2014 in recognition of her involvement with AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) which gives Indigenous teenagers the skills, opportunities, and self-confidence to help them finish high school and go on to further study.
Now Cindy's set her sights on further study: "I want to start my PhD when I'm 40. I'll have enough background knowledge and experience in education by then. That's the next feather in my cap".