28 November 2023

Class of 2023

As 2023 comes to an end, so too does the high school journey for 32 Yalari scholars from across the country.

6 years since these students moved from their homes – from communities like Daly River in the NT, Winton in QLD, or Tamworth in NSW – to boarding schools across the country, they’ve grown and they’ve matured. They’ve fought through tough times, and shown strength and resilience to make it to this point.

They’ve learnt from those who went before them so that they could become leaders for those who’ve followed in their footsteps.

Back in 2017, as the students filled out their scholarship application forms with their families, a common theme connected each of the then-prospective scholars: a desire for a better education in hope of a brighter future.

And now, as they await the results from their final assessments and exams, they are looking towards the future that awaits them: further studies, employment, professional sport, and even modelling in Europe.

The door was opened for this group of 32 bright, young Indigenous scholars when they were awarded their Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarships, but for the past six years, it has been up to them to make the most of the opportunities available at their schools. And, as we reflect on their journeys since they began back in 2018, it’s clear that they’ve done this.

We are so proud of the people they’ve become and the leaders they’ve grown into.

The Yalari Class of 2023
The Yalari Class of 2023 at the Graduation at Parliament House

Meet the Class of 2023

Andrew Casey

After finishing up at John Paul College, Andrew is heading back to the Northern Territory to do farm work before he applies to join the Army.

“I feel thankful for this opportunity Waverley has given me. I have made a lot of good friends in Yalari and with this opportunity I’m going to change my home town and make it a better place bit by bit.”

Ava Seaton

Ava has accepted an offer from the University of Wollongong to study a Bachelor of Social Work.

“Having Yalari hold and value me on my journey has motivated me to get through. I hope to keep in touch with them after school to ensure that my story can help younger kids to get through their tough times.”

Bonnie Mumford

Bonnie hopes to continue her studies after finishing at Geelong Grammar, with plans to study Agriculture and Business at the University of Queensland.

“I’m so excited to see where my future is going to take me. I know for a fact that boarding school has prepared me well for wherever life takes me.”

Charlea Smith

Charlea has accepted an offer to study a Bachelor of Forensic Science at Griffith University.

“I am closer to achieving the one childhood dream I’ve had for 10 years. I got to become an author, like I wanted when I was 5; I got to display my own art in a gallery like I wanted since I was 6; I got to take guitar lessons and learn an instrument, just like I wanted when I was 4. I got to indulge some of the interests I never would’ve without the scholarship.”

Charlize Watson

Charlize will be moving to Sydney to study a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Sydney.

“I want to study primary education so that I can go on to pay it forward by teaching in rural and remote areas providing other children a better education.”

Chenae Wreford

Chenae is currently applying for traineeships in Albany.

“Without this scholarship I would never have learnt from all the opportunities I have been presented over these past few years. I know I would have led a different life without Yalari, and I’m thankful for everything I’ve received so far.”

Ciara Laidlaw

Ciara will spend the next 12 months working in the Whitsundays before hoping to move on to university in either Perth or Brisbane.

“I’m forever glad and grateful for this opportunity, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever put myself through, but I know that’s so much more rewarding in the end.”

Clay Schafer

In 2024, Clay is making the move to the Gold Coast to study a Bachelor of Laws at Bond University.

“I feel thankful and really appreciate the scholarship which has helped me to get a great education and it has given me so many opportunities. It has made a big difference to my life.”

Delaney Dagg

Delaney plans to spend a year working on a station near Oodnadatta.

“I wonder how different my life would be if I didn’t come to boarding school. It makes me feel so lucky and grateful for the education I’ve had at Scotch.”

Ella Nona

After graduating from St Margaret’s, Ella is applying to study at ACU in the areas of Business and Sport.

“I’m so grateful and appreciative of the opportunity I’ve been given and will use it to build a better future for not only myself, but my family and culture.”

Emil Willie-Jawai

Emil sees his future in France playing professional rugby, and in the mean time will continue his heavy diesel mechanic apprenticeship in Brisbane.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given at Churchie. I will carry the lessons and experiences from these years with me as I embark on new adventures and challenges in the future.”

Iesha Gray

Iesha has plans to move onto further studies at the University of New South Wales and hopes to complete a Bachelor of Social Work.

“I am grateful for being able to spend my years in Sydney, especially coming from a small community. It has been an eye-opener in many ways, it has given me many experiences that have made me think deeply about many things.”

Jay Campbell

After graduating, Jay will continue his modelling career and will spend 2024 in Europe having signed a modelling contract.

“Throughout school I have learned connections is one of the most powerful things to have and to hold the relationships so you have connections for everything anywhere and everywhere.”

Jye Peters

Jye will be moving to Coffs Harbour to complete a plumbing apprenticeship.

“I would not change a thing about my time here in Sydney. I have made many lifelong friends found my passions in many different places due to the opportunity that I have been given to explore and open up my bubble.”

Koolee Harbour

Koolee will be making the move down to Sydney having signed a contract to play for the Cronulla Sharks in the NRLW in 2024.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that have come along with this scholarship. It has made a huge difference in my life and I couldn’t be happier for the path it has put me on.”

Kye Boland

The Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Kye will be studying a Bachelor of Architecture at QUT from 2024.

“Throughout my time at Churchie, I’ve had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the new experiences. The Yalari scholarship has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to access a quality education, and I strived to make the most of this privilege.”

Lashontae Mosby

Lashontae has accepted an offer from James Cook University in Townsville to study a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science.

“As my final year of schooling is coming to an end, I have met so many new people and have been given the most amazing opportunities at Glennie which I will forever be grateful for.”

Laura McGrady

Laura hopes to study Veterinary Tech in 2024 in either Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

“We have all come a long way, been through tough times, and laughed and cried. But in the end, we will always have each other and I’m forever grateful that I accepted this scholarship because of the brothers and sisters I now have.”

Leila Belotti

Leila has been accepted into NAISDA Dance College, and will be moving to Gosford in 2024.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be at MLC on a Yalari scholarship, it has given me countless opportunities that wouldn’t even be an option if I had stayed at my school back home.”

Leon Connop

Leon is planning on staying in Adelaide when he graduates from St Peter’s to complete an apprenticeship. 

“Now that I am almost done, I look back at it and think about how lucky I am to be given this opportunity. I am the first person in my family to go to boarding school and I am very proud of it and it makes me happy knowing that my younger siblings are looking up to me and see me as a role model.”

Luke Tennant

Luke will be moving to Adelaide to complete a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide.

“I am determined to carry the lessons learned, the connections made, and the values instilled into my future endeavours.”

Mikayla Dowd

Mikayla has applied to study Chemical Engineering in either Melbourne or Brisbane.

“Throughout my time at Geelong Grammar School, I have gained copious understanding and have learnt so much, not just academically but also established worldly views that I will carry with me through the rest of my life. This journey was rewarding, and I am a different person because of it, the trajectory of my life has dramatically altered, and I now have new motivations and goals that I am determined to fulfill. “

Mismam Kris

Upon graduating from Riverview, Misi is hoping to complete an apprenticeship.

“Reflecting on my journey since Year 7 it’s kind of emotional because all those good memories will be gone but never forgotten.”

nathan Spry

In 2024, Nathan is planning on staying in Adelaide and completing an apprenticeship.

“Without Yalari, I would not have the chance to attend a school like St Peters College and have the opportunities I have been given thus far in my schooling.”


neitayah Prince

Neitayah will be completing a Certificate in Individual Support at TAFE QLD in 2024.

“I have really enjoyed my boarding years and am excited to finish school this year. Although I am nervous, I am excited to leave school at the end of this year and start my adult life.”

Noami Buchanan

A talented artist, Noami will be studying a Bacehlor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at Griffith University.

“I have had some of the best times of my life so far here at Glennie and on Yalari that I will cherish forever.”

Olivia Oakeshott

Olivia has applied to continue further studies at the University of Sydney in the health area.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at boarding school and will forever be grateful for this.”

Russell Whap

Russell plans to study a Bachelor of Marine Science at Griffith University once he graduates from Riverview.

“Starting in Year 7 I have learned so many things. Coming into Year 12, the friends and connections that I’ve made will last a lifetime and wouldn’t have been possible without Yalari.”

Scarlett Mercer

After graduating from Geelong Grammar, Scarlett hopes to study Arts and Laws at the University of Melbourne.

“The last six years have allowed me to experience things that I otherwise would never have had any chance to do or see.”

Summer Lowe

Another talented artist, Summer will be moving across the country to study a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at Griffith University.

“Yalari was a huge support throughout my time in boarding, helping with tough times at school, providing opportunities in and outside of school, as well as encouraging my dreams and goals in life.”

Tayah Riley

Tayah will be moving up to Newcastle to complete a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Newcastle.

“I am and will be forever grateful for this opportunity. I have had the most amazing time and experience being at Kambala and will not forget it.”

William Fletcher-Toovey

Will will be heading to Dubbo to complete a fitter and turner apprenticeship.

“I am so grateful for the times I’ve had during my time at Churchie, and for the opportunities that being on Yalari has given me.”

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Acknowledgement of Country

Yalari respects our Elders, past and present, and acknowledges that our office is on Kombumerri country within the lands of the Yugambeh language group.