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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Tommy ‘rains’ on graduation parade

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Tommy Franklin adds a little sparkle to the life of Byron. Photo Jeff Dawson
Tommy Franklin adds a little sparkle to the life of Byron. Photo Jeff Dawson

Byron Bay’s dancing man Tommy Franklin will be a special guest at the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus today (October 18).

Tommy, who rose to national fame on the back of his appearances in Australia’s Got Talent, will perform with another special guest, Indigenous musician Blakboi, prior to the students being awarded their AIME packs and certificates.

The AIME program, which started at SCU in 2012, sees university students act as mentors and tutors for Indigenous high school students.

The program has given Indigenous students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their non-Indigenous peers with statistics released in 2012 showing around 70 per cent of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants progressing through to Year 12. This far exceeds the national Indigenous average of 38 per cent.

There were 44 schools across the three campus areas involved in the program this year. The program consisted of four intensive days of workshops with mentors.

‘The Lismore program had more than 200 students from 16 schools enrolled this year which is a brilliant outcome considering we only started last year with three schools,’ program manager for the Lismore campus, Cindy Castella said.

‘We have run sessions for students from Year 9 to Year 12 and we have had about 60 SCU students enrolled as mentors. A feature this year has included running Tutor Squads, which has seen our AIME mentors going into Lismore High School for an hour to help in the classroom with the students involved in our program.’

The ceremony will start at Y Block from 10am and then head to the Plaza at 12 for lunch. Final presentations will start at 1.30pm at R Block.


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