Bridges to Higher Education Bridges to Higher Education

Jess Fox and Jessica Oehm

Jessica Oehm - Student at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School

Through Pathways To Dreaming we learn a lot of cultural knowledge that you wouldn't normally learn in high school, where you mainly do maths and science. And it really helps that I can go back to the community and pass on that knowledge. I now know I'm Aboriginal and I am proud of that!

Going to university at first was all a bit daunting because it was really big, you don't actually realise how big it is until you get there and try to figure out where you are. Through Pathways To Dreaming I have discovered, yes it is a big place, but there is a lot of support at university if I need it, I'm not all on my own. The program has helped me find ways to get the information I need.

I think having this program especially for Aboriginal students is good, it gives you hope and a sense that you can do something with your life. I think it is something that a lot of Aboriginal students should do!

Jess Fox - Student at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School

A few years ago there was much I didn't know about myself - I knew I was Aboriginal but I actually had no idea what it was about. Through the program I now know what nation I belong to and what my tribe is.

I was actually really excited to go to one of the UWS campuses for the first time, seeing what it was like. We went into every classroom to see what it was, it was a really fun experience! By meeting some people who are UWS students already I have also learned what to expect. I think going to university would give me a real sense of pride that I have been able to achieve something. I'm excited and nervous about the idea.

Paige Murray - Aboriginal Education Coordinator

Jess Fox and Jessica Oehm

Through Pathways To Dreaming our Aboriginal students get a better sense of self, it improves their engagement and retention in High School and their ongoing success. The Program gave Jess and Jessica clear patterns of study and achievement which are important for tertiary study.

In ten years time I see Jess and Jessica as active leaders, strong Aboriginal women and role models in their community, feeding back their knowledge.

Programs like this are essential in building trust between the school, local communities and with institutions like UWS, it is reciprocal and respectful. These relationships are crucial to bridging the gap for Aboriginal people and to increasing engagement in higher education.

Josh Mason - Pathways To Dreaming Project Coordinator

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Many Aboriginal students who finish their HSC are the first in their family to do so and the idea of going to university is just a whole other level. Our main goal is for the students to finish year 12 and to make informed decisions about their future and we are there for them every step of the way.

Jess and Jessica were already dreaming of higher education. I think the program made this seem more achievable and helped them think of ways they could realise this dream.

I'm very passionate about working with Aboriginal students! I hope that by encouraging students like Jess and Jessica to learn about Aboriginal culture and have aspirations we can contribute to breaking down negative stereotypes of Aboriginal people, and encourage more confidence across their communities.

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