Top Aboriginal students win Rob Riley Memorial Prize

Top Aboriginal students win Rob Riley Memorial Prize

THE State’s top performing Aboriginal students met Education Minister Peter Collier at Bull Creek’s Aviation Heritage Museum for the presentation of the Rob Riley Memorial Prize.

Patrick Olofsson, of Bayswater, said he was up against strong competition at his school with the dux of the school also claiming the Beazley Medal.

He achieved an ATAR of 96.6 for his studies in maths, physics, chemistry, English, and food science and technology which earned him the WACE category prize.

He will attend Curtin University this year to study physics.

“I’m honoured – I wasn’t expecting the award when I did my exams,” Patrick said.

Mr Collier gave Patrick and VET category winner Elli Swinson, of Secret Harbour, $5000 each and a copy of Aboriginal leader Rob Riley’s memoir.

Elli said: “I studied Certificate III in flight operations (cabin crew) at Polytechnic West which is a year-long course.”

She had also completed a Certificate II in Retail Year 11 and completed a Cert II in Community Services across the two final years of school, all together tallying hundreds of hours of work placement time and earning her a nomination for the award by a lecturer.

She hopes to do further aviation courses and a work placement in Canada at a ski resort while continuing to look for work closer to home.

Her mother Tracy Swinson said she was very proud of Elli who is her fifth and final child to fly the nest.

“She worked really hard, and she loved the course – it was no hassle,” Mrs Swinson said.

Elli was born in Paraburdoo, went to school in Tom Price and spent a year in Zambia where she was home schooled for Grade 6.

Mrs Swinson said her children gained an appreciation for Australia’s opportunities while in Africa.

Elli competed her primary schooling in Secret Harbour and graduated from Comet Bay College last year.