Freeny Williamson, and Leroy Duroux, of Lismore high both graduating from the Mentor program held at SCCU on Friday. Photo Doug Eaton / The Northern Star
Freeny Williamson, and Leroy Duroux, of Lismore high both graduating from the Mentor program held at SCCU on Friday. Photo Doug Eaton / The Northern Star Doug Eaton

Students aiming to reach goals with help from Dancing Man

THE WET weather couldn't rain on the parade of The Dancing Man Tommy Franklin and the 200 Indigenous school students who were graduating from the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) program yesterday.

AIME programs are targeted at Indigenous school students on the Northern Rivers and aim to raise the attrition rate of Indigenous high school students to be on par with that of white Australian Year 12 leavers.

Two students who went through their graduation yesterday were Lismore High School Captain Leroy Duraus and his mate Feeny Williamson.

Mr Duraus, who is currently sitting his HSC exams, will be the first person in his family to have completed high school.

"My parents had children when they were 18, so they never got to finish school," Mr Duraus said.

"The AIME sessions gave me the drive to finish school because when someone is pushing you to do something, you eventually realise they're doing it for the right reasons."

Mr Duraus said one of the goals he worked toward with AIME was becoming school captain at Lismore High School.

"Finishing school and following your goals is hard to do by yourself if you're an Indigenous person," he said.

"AIME taught me you don't have to be the best to achieve high."

Tommy Franklin, the Byron man who has risen to fame the television show Australian's Got Talent, attended the day that celebrated the Indigenous students who had completed the mentor programs.

Mr Franklin said he was privileged to have spent the day with the Indigenous youth.

"I have a big heart for the Indigenous community and we have so much to learn from them," Mr Franklin said.

"I was a troubled youth myself and I've made some hard but healthy choices and I'd like to encourage these young people to do the same."



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