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Who dares wins

Oakey State High School's prize winners Sherkierah Pender, Massey Collins-Wharton and Shania Hazard​

​Last week the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) hosted it’s second annual DARE Awards night to mark the achievements of Indigenous secondary students from around the Surat Basin. The evening was co-sponsored by USQ and Arrow Energy.

DARE is an acronym for Dream, Aspire, Reach, and Experience. The DARE program aims at addressing the barriers to participation in higher education experienced by Indigenous students. DARE focuses on developing aspirations in students through face-to-face mentoring.

Oakey State High School has taken part in the program since it’s inception in 2012 and Oakey State High School participants attended the ceremony to acknowledge their participation in the program and the efforts of those students who have excelled in one or more aspects of DARE.

Project Manager, Megan Darr, spoke briefly about the DARE initiative and encouraged the students and their families to take hold of the opportunities around them.

“Take a chance, trust in your own ability and you can succeed,” Megan told the large gathering in the USQ Refectory. Twelve secondary schools were represented on the night from as far east as Laidley State High School to Cunnamulla State School in the West.

Oakey State High School's KoomaDidgeri dance group featured during the welcome segment of the ceremony. Damon Anderson and Massey Collins-Wharton danced as William Haupt performed vocals and clapsticks while young Casey Turnbull played the didgeridoo.

During the evening various speakers addressed the gathering, whilst others performed. Students from each school were awarded for attendance, recognition of cultural and leadership abilities, and academic awards.

This year Oakey State High School's award winners were Massey Collins-Wharton (attendance), Shania Hazard (cultural and leadership) and Sherkierah Pender (academic achievement).