Jazmin’s scholarship success

STRONG AND INSPIRING: Jazmin Bingham was recently awarded a Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarship and hoped to be an inspiration to other young people. Picture: MELANIE RILEY.

Melanie Riley

JAZMIN Bingham, a year 11 student at Grant High School has recently received a Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarship.

The Dame Roma Mitchell scholarships have been awarded each year since 1993, and are intended to help support Aboriginal students in Year 11 and 12 to complete their SACE.

Ms Bingham said she was surprised to receive the news she had been successful in obtaining the scholarship.

“I was like ‘wow I actually got it!’” she said.

“I’ve done a lot of work to achieve what I did, but I thought because it was a state award, it would be very hard to get it, especially compared to a lot of other kids that work really hard too.”

Ms Bingham said the financial assistance provided as part of the scholarship would be a huge support throughout her SACE, which is important to her as she has plans to further her education after graduating.

“I want to study a double degree – law and journalism and work in the media alongside politics,” she said.

“Then then work my way up into the upper house of government and work as a senator for South Australia or Victoria.”

With a keen interest in the environment, especially climate change and Indigenous affairs, Ms Bingham hoped to be able to study in either Sydney or Melbourne.

“In Sydney, there’s a lot of other things I can study at the universities there and as a Gamilaroi person my cultural heritage is around that area,” she said.

“I can also do language courses up that way, and it’s also one hour from Canberra by train.

“Melbourne is closer to my friends and family, but it doesn’t have as many opportunities because it isn’t as big as Sydney.”

Ms Bingham currently volunteers for various organisations including Trees for Life, Nature Glenelg Trust, BlazeAid and in other roles in the community.

At school, Ms Bingham actively shares her voice through school SRC and other forums, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the Limestone Coast Youth Environmental Council.

Grant High School shared that Ms Bingham is a highly motivated person who goes out of her way to find groups to support that demonstrate her passion and commitment to the environment and her culture.

Ms Bingham is involved in campaigns that fight for youth rights around free recreation and fair access, is no stranger to media appearances and has even met with Members of Parliament.

As a First Nations woman, Ms Bingham said it is important for her to be a good role model for younger people, especially with Mount Gambier/Berrin having a relatively low First Nations population.

“Coming from a regional and remote community, it’s hard to have role models in the community, as there aren’t many people around down here,” she said.

“I want to be an inspiration for young people to achieve their goals.

“I want to show that young people can do things, and if that means taking risks to achieve their goals, they can still do it.”

Ms Bingham is inspired by several strong and influential women, from politicians to family.

“My biggest inspiration would be Maggie Knight-Williams – she’s a Gamilaroi person and she’s a planet and Indigenous activist,” she said.

“Lydia Thorpe – senator for Victoria, working in Indigenous Affairs and the recommission of land and Indigenous artefacts.

“Natalie Issacs – she was in the makeup industry and then she got a passion for climate change, and totally changed her whole business around, and now she leads a company called 1 Million Women and works on awareness of climate change and how important it is in Australia.”

Ms Bingham gave a special mention to her mum, who she said tackled raising eight children while studying at university.

“I would say my mother would be one of my biggest inspirations,” she said.

“It was difficult for her growing up, and now she’s got a nursing degree.

“She’s been through a lot of stuff in her life, but has always managed to come out the other side.

“She pushes us kids to go and achieve everything we want to and that the sky’s the limit.”

Ms Bingham said she was really grateful to be given the Dame Roma Mitchell scholarship, and was happy to represented as both a student of Grant High School and a First Nations woman.

“It is a privilege to honour First Nations people within my community and within my mobs,” she said.

“And to showcase that with a lot of hard work and a pretty good mindset that you can achieve what you want to achieve.”