Clontarf program pays rich dividend


Girrawheen graduates Jacob McPhee, Sheldon Kitto, Liam McPhee and Dylan Wallam.
Girrawheen graduates Jacob McPhee, Sheldon Kitto, Liam McPhee and Dylan Wallam.

The Clontarf Academy, which runs in partnership with the local school, produced four Aboriginal WA Certificate of Education graduates last year.

Staff at Girrawheen Senior High School said it had been a while since they could not recall the last time an Aboriginal student graduated with a WA Certificate of Education (WACE) but last year’s cohort boasted four.

Established at the school in 2014, the Clontarf Academy engages students using incentives to help them graduate and be ready to join the workforce.

Year 12 graduate Dylan Wallam (18) said staff at the academy were instrumental in his achievement.

“The staff got me and the other boys on track,” he said.

“They led us and guided us – I wouldn’t have graduated without them.” He said the extra support made a huge difference. If we needed stationery, textbooks or someone to talk with they were there,” he said.

“If we had problems in class they would talk to our teachers and find ways around the issues. Before being involved with Clontarf I didn’t really go to school, but, after I adjusted to the Clontarf way, it was a big help to me.”

Principal Rosalba Butterworth said the academy was integral to the school.

“There are strong relationships between the Clontarf staff and our students and these positive relationships have supported four of our young men to achieve their WA Certificate of Education – this is an excellent outcome,” she said.

Dylan said the certificate presented him with many opportunities.

“Clontarf staff are helping me get a job and look for a traineeship in business,” he said. “The staff have already helped me to write a resume and attend interviews.

“Now I attend the Clontarf Academy three times a week to mentor a younger Girrawheen Senior High School student.”