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Dancing man special guest at AIME graduation


Steve Spinks
17 October 2013
Byron Bay’s dancing man Tommy Franklin will be a special guest at the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus on Friday, October 18.

Mr Franklin who has rose to national fame on the back of his appearances in Australia’s Got Talent, will perform with another special guest, Indigenous musician Blakboi, prior to the students being awarded their AIME packs and certificates.

The AIME program, which started at SCU in 2012, sees University students act as mentors and tutors for Indigenous high school students in the Lismore, Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour regions. The Gold Coast campus has already celebrated its graduation.

Remarkably, the program has given Indigenous students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their non-Indigenous peers with statistics released in 2012 showing around 70 per cent of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants progressing through to Year 12. This exceeds the national Indigenous average of 38 per cent.

There were 44 schools across the three campus areas involved in the program this year. The program consisted of four intensive days of workshops with mentors.

“The Lismore program had more than 200 students from 16 schools enrolled this year which is a brilliant outcome considering we only started last year with three schools,” program manager for the Lismore campus, Cindy Castella said.

“We have run sessions for students from Year 9 to Year 12 and we have had about 60 SCU students enrolled as mentors. A feature this year, has included running Tutor Squads which has seen our AIME mentors going into Lismore High School for an hour to help in the classroom with the students involved in our program.”

The Lismore ceremony will start at Y Block from 10am and then head to the Plaza at 12 for lunch. Final presentations will start at 1.30pm at R Block.

The Coffs Harbour campus will host its graduation ceremony on Friday, October 25, and this will feature special guests Alison Page, off The New Inventors television show, and Robbie Miller, who was the Triple J National Indigenous artist of the year.

“AIME has worked in the Coffs region since 2009 and this year we saw an already strong program double in size from six schools to 12,” program manager for the Coffs campus Ellen Radnidge said.

“With the ongoing support of the local community we look forward to working with even more Indigenous high school students.”

Coffs participants will be involved in a Touch competition at lunch time followed by a Koori graduation ceremony for Year 12 students with hats and gowns. The Coffs campus will also announce their own Deadly Awards. Activities run from 9.30am to 2pm at the O Block theatre.

Photo: AIME mentors and participants limber up before a workshop earlier this year.