Aboriginal dancers

Footsteps lead to higher education

FOLLOWING in her adored grandmother’s footsteps with higher education has Kelly McBride of Nikenbah bursting with pride.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill,” Ms McBride beamed at yesterday’s NAIDOC Week celebration at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast.

The 29-year-old Butchulla woman, who recently started the USQ Bachelor of Nursing program, is the grand-daughter of Aunty Irene McBride, last year’s USQ Indigenous Service Alumnus of the Year.

 Aunty Irene holds a Master of Education and coordinates the Vacation Care program at Hervey Bay’s Scrub Hill.

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First-year nursing student Kelly McBride celebrates NAIDOC Week at USQ Fraser Coast.

She is also a member of USQ Fraser Coast’s Buallum Jarl-Bah Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Committee (BATEC), an advisory group made up of Butchulla Elders, community members and USQ personnel who promote education to local Indigenous people.

“Aunty Irene is an excellent role model and does a lot for the community,” Ms McBride said.

Inspired by her grandmother’s achievements, the former Aboriginal medical receptionist is now taking the next step in her education journey.

“I have wanted to work in the health industry since leaving Year 12. I like working with my people so I thought university was the next level and started a degree.”

Ms McBride was among the dozens of University students, staff and community members who gathered at USQ Fraser Coast in Hervey Bay to celebrate NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observation Committee) Week.

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said NAIDOC Week celebrated the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This year’s theme We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate is an opportunity to pay respects to country, honour those who work tirelessly on preserving land, sea and culture, and to share the stories of significant places,” Professor Thomas said.

NAIDOC Week celebrations were also held at USQ campuses in Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich with traditional Indigenous performances and foods on offer.

At USQ Fraser Coast, foods included Damper, Lemon Myrtle Pancakes, Spicy Barramundi Pieces and Kangaroo Tartlets.

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Sampling the traditional Aboriginal food at USQ Fraser Coast’s NAIDOC Week celebration are (l-r) Butchulla Elder Uncle Ian Wheeler, visitor Kayla Monaghan, Campus Executive Manager Brett Langabeer, student Kelly McBride, staff member Deanna Eastall and student Rachael Bayley.

-ENDS-

 

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