There must be something in the water on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Perhaps more likely, it is the wonderful sense of community the small town possesses, something our 2022 joint Launching Star Corrin Paepke appreciates and loves about her home.
Corrin grew up about 10 minutes from the main town Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, and her life was filled with experiences only country living can provide.
She excelled at school, completing year 12 and a Certificate III in Hospitality. These achievements earned her a number of awards including The Leon Bignell Southern Adelaide and Fleurieu Trade School Regional Student of the Year Award, The Lions Incentive Award and Excellence in Hospitality Award.
Now in her third year of university, Corrin has been supported by Kangaroo Island Country Education Fund since 2020.
Can you tell us a little about your life growing up?
My life on Kangaroo Island was very community orientated with after school and weekends full of beach days, camping, fishing, local sporting events with many friends and family.
I am very grateful for this upbringing and when I return home, I enjoy reliving those experiences with my family and friends. My upbringing and experiences on Kangaroo Island I believe are very unique compared with the upbringing people experience in larger communities. This has shaped who I am as a person and also reminds me to slow down, enjoy the finer things in life, and appreciate where you come from.
What have been some of your greatest/proudest achievements to date ?
Year 12 was definitely a highlighted time in my life, as I was simultaneously completing a CERT III in Hospitality at school, which included running a school café and hosting international and local events with my peers. I was also completing my research project, various science subjects and working part time during this period.
I feel very accomplished and proud of myself with how far I have come and I cannot wait to see what the universe has in store for me in the future.
What do you like to do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?
Although I don’t get much down time, I love the outdoors and will try and spent all my spare time there. I enjoy going for walks and hikes around greater Adelaide and I am very passionate about camping and have enjoyed a lot of time out and about experiencing SA and VIC. I also have a passion for learning away from my studies so I enjoy reading and watching documentaries to wind down.
What do you remember most about receiving your grant(s) from CEF? What did it mean to you? How did it help you?
The grants I have received from CEF have helped me tremendously with living independently in Adelaide away from my family.
I remember the funds I received went directly to pay for textbooks in my first year which I still use today. The money also helped to pay rent and university related costs including parking.
It means a lot as it takes some of the pressure off me as I don’t have to the time to work full time whilst completing two degrees.
I have had Katrina Lovering and Crystal Stewart from my local foundation help me throughout the years with payments, reporting and information. They have helped my journey run a lot more smoothly.
You are living in Adelaide at the moment for university, do you still feel a connection to country Australia?
As a Pitjantjatjara woman attending Flinders University, I have had the opportunity to be around other Indigenous students who are also away from country and often their families. I often try to return home to Kangaroo Island to maintain a connection with my hometown and my family who live there.
I also try to experience other regions of rural South Australia away from the suburbs, as I am more myself when I am out and about. This also helps to ground me and stay connected to country.
What advice would you give to young students in rural and regional areas who are unsure or worried about study after school?
Fully immerse yourself in the experience and all opportunities that come up.
I would also say that you don’t have to do university or TAFE, as long as you are doing something that you are passionate about that’s all that matters. Being away from home is hard, but when you are out achieving something that aligns with your personal goals and aspirations I promise it will be worth it in the long run.
What is next for you?
After graduating I hope to work amongst those who are disadvantaged and overrepresented within the criminal justice and prison systems, this includes Indigenous Australians. I would love to experience living and working in other areas of Australia internationally.