When a young student identifies one of their favourite pastimes as helping the community – we know we have found someone pretty special. In celebration of NAIDOC Week, we are excited for you to get to know her.
Tamazyn Ledden is from Port Macquarie – land of the Birpai people – on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
Although the town has grown rapidly, it is still an ‘awesome’ place to live, with the surrounding beaches being one of her favourite things about home.
She has grown up with a wonderfully supportive mother and younger sister. She says they are a ‘power team’ and fight all the battles they face as one.
In 2021 during her final year of school, Tamazyn completed her Certificate II in Hospitality and was named the NSW Training Awards North Coast & Mid-North Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.
What does receiving your local Hastings Education Fund grant and the VERTO scholarship mean to you?
Receiving this grant means I have the opportunity to study and strive to be the best role model to the younger generation of my family. It means I can show them that with hard work and determination you can dream big and make those dreams reality.
This grant also means I can study to help students within schools to be included and feel as one; to help students not be left out for being a student of colour or a student with health conditions or impairments.
Why have you chosen to do a Certificate III in Education Support/Certificate IV in Mentoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples?
I have chosen these courses because I want to be able to help those students who need extra assistance in the classroom. Whether that is with their work or just talking to me about how they feel and what is going on. I want to make a difference in a students’ schooling life, where I can inspire them to make a change for someone else too.
What do you hope to do once you finish your study?
Once I finish my studies, I hope to move somewhere out west to a smaller town and focus on making the school I work at one of the best experiences those students can have.
We are sharing your story during NAIDOC week – what does this year’s theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ mean to you?
To me, I relate this to school. I struggled to get to school because I never had that motivation my peers had – until I had a goal and motivation from my family behind me. This also makes me think about events held in Port Macquarie for the Aboriginal youth. I used to be too nervous to go to things like that because I knew no one there. I have light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair, so I thought ‘no one’s gonna believe me’. But I spoke to a local Aboriginal lady and she taught me to stand up to my fear of being judged and show up and this changed me.
What advice do you have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students thinking about what they want to do after school?
You have so many opportunities to change careers, you aren’t locked in one forever. If you feel like doing teaching now, then in four years time you want to be a real estate agent, it isn’t the end of the world. But always remember, we are all one big family full of aunties, uncles and cousins. If you’re unsure of what to do after school, look into an Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander course to learn about our ancestors.