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14 February 2023

Yalari Celebrates Its Largest Ever Cohort

Seasoned 4WDers will be familiar with Bamaga. After the best part of three days driving up the Bruce Highway to Cairns and then another couple of days further up the Peninsula Development Road, your arrival at this remote township signals that the end is in sight: just another 40kms to The Tip of Cape York … the northernmost point of mainland Australia.

In January this year, cousins Rynell and Quade covered this massive distance in reverse, flying 2700kms to start their new life in Year 7 at The Southport School.

Photo of Quade and Rynell at the 2023 Orientation Camp
Quade and Rynell at the 2023 Orientation Camp

It’s hard to imagine the culture shock for these two young lads – coming from a small remote community where everyone knows everyone, to a school that has a larger student body than the town they grew up in.

“It’s big,” was their first impression. But then they saw the water – “We can go sailing and rowing and everything.” At least there won’t be any crocodiles!

It’s a huge step but Rynell is following in the footsteps of his sister Libby who is in Year 8 at Clayfield College on a Yalari scholarship. He’s a big fan of basketball and Bob Marley. In his spare time, he likes hunting, fishing, 4WDing and spending time with his family.

“When I grow up, I want to be a famous basketball player … or a You Tuber … or an actor in a superhero movie,” he said.

He also wants to buy a house for Mum and Dad.

Rynell’s cousin Quade is one of nine siblings. He’s a sports fan too – basketball, dodgeball and soccer are his favourites – but he also has a strong creative streak and likes drawing.

“The person I look up to most in the world is my Dad because he teaches me everything. I want to get a good job like Dad when I grow up … but first, I want to get a car so I can get to work fast.”

Student visiting TSS
Rynell visiting The Southport School

Rynell and Quade are two of the 57 young boys and girls who were awarded a Yalari scholarship this year. It is the highest number of new scholarships we have ever awarded in Yalari’s 18-year history with many of them – like Rynell and Quade – following in the footsteps of siblings, cousins, childhood friends and now even parents.

According to our Admissions Coordinator, Ella, the number of applications received, and scholarships awarded is increasing exponentially each year.

“Over time, we have built really strong relationships, not just with the families in our remote communities, but with the aunties and uncles, the Elders, and the schools. They also see our amazing alumni coming back home to take on important jobs in their communities or going on to successful careers in the cities.

As a result, we’re seeing more and more family members coming through as parents and younger children realise the world of opportunities that Yalari’s partner schools have opened up for their older brothers, sisters and cousins.

They also have a better understanding of what it takes to be a Yalari scholar and are preparing children from a younger age, so we are seeing a lot more quality applicants.”

Thank you to our amazing sponsors and supporters who enable Yalari to provide scholarships for our 249 students including Wilsons and a long-standing partner of Yalari, who are sponsoring Rynell and Quade’s journey.

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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.