Yalari is a not-for-profit organization that provides boarding scholarships for Aboriginal children to high achieving private schools in Queensland, WA, NSW, Canberra, Victoria and South Australia. In this respect it has the same objectives as the Woomera Education Scholarship Trust (WEST) but it operates on a much larger scale and has been going for longer (since 2006).
When WEST started to look for students towards the end of 2010, it approached Yalari for possible assistance. For the first time, Yalari had more eligible students than school places and were happy to suggest two girls from Darwin to come to Peninsula School in Melbourne.
The association with Yalari has continued and we work with them with respect to schools contact and student selection. Through Yalari, WEST also supports a boy from the Gippsland district of Victoria at Geelong Grammar.
Peninsula Grammar is a co-educational private school on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. As a school of privilege, it was happy to co-operate with WEST in the provision of scholarship places in its boarding houses for Aboriginal children. It was a new experience for Peninsula Grammar (then The Peninsula School), and a bold decision for Stuart Johnstone as a new Principal of the school in his first year of tenure. WEST is extremely grateful to Stuart, and to his staff at all levels, for their commitment and for making the children so welcome.
The school is located within large grounds in the outer Melbourne suburb of Mt. Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula. There are separate boys’ and girls’ boarding houses on-campus. The school has extensive academic and sporting programs and facilities. A new Senior School building was completed in 2014 and a new Science Block in 2016. The school also boasts outstanding achievements in the fields of music and drama.
The Indigenous education program is the responsibility of one of the two Deputy Principals at the school and there is a dedicated Indigenous Education Co-ordinator.
Peninsula Grammar has nothing but praise for WEST scholarship students. Peninsula Grammar is an “open entry” school which means that it does not screen incoming students for academic ability but prides itself on being able to bring out the best in all of them. Our children have needed help from time to time as they make the huge transition to the mainstream educational environment, but, through the commitment of a school staff that manages to be both professional and compassionate at the same time, they are meeting the challenge.