Show Me The Way Blog

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Remoteness does not stop this Alyangula achiever

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

Finding the motivation to go to school everyday can be hard.

For 17-year-old Travis Kennell, who was the only 2016 Year 12 student at the remote NT Alyangula Area School, it was a major undertaking.

Each morning involved a 45-minute bus ride to school from his home on the Angurugu community. He would spend each day in front of a computer, studying with the NT School of Distance Education (NTSDE), before taking the bus home again.

But he wasn’t always alone. He was supported by his teacher and mentor Alyangula Area School assistant principal Mel Moore and he would socialise with other school students at break times.

Ms Moore said Travis was the first person from his community to complete Year 12 at the school by studying academically (rather than through alternative pathways and work experience) and with an A class score.

“The inner motivation required for this is huge,” she told the Koori Mail.

“Education is not highly valued by a lot of families and it’s its not easy to study on your own.”

The Alyangula Area School is based on an island at the top of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Arnhem region, more than an hour’s flight from Darwin.

Travis said his NTSDE teachers, who were based at Darwin High School, also made visits to the island to assist with his learning.

“I would sometimes fly to Darwin for residentials at Darwin High,” he said.

“There, it was like a normal school situation, instead of being behind a computer screen by myself doing webinars and Skype sessions with teachers.”

Travis is not sure what the future holds for him. But he is keen to use his education to bring something back to his remote community of about 300 people.

“It’s been a hard year with my grandmother’s passing,” he said.

“But my mother and grandfather have been very supportive of my education and are proud of my achievement.”

Travis’ grandparents were both teachers in the local community mission, so he’s not ruling out teaching as a career.

“I enjoyed studying physical education and health subjects the most,” he said.

“And I also studied Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management and Certificate 1 in cookery.

“I understand education is the key to being successful, but I’m not sure what I want to do.”

Travis Kennell studies remotely at Alyangula Area School

The Koori Mail is a media partner of Show Me The Way.

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