2012 Award Winners
The Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarship was instituted in 1993 to provide financial support for two Aboriginal students undertaking studies in years 11 and 12 to complete the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). The then Governor of South Australia, the late Dame Roma Mitchell, AC, QVE, CVO, QC, who had a long association with Reconciliation issues and Aboriginal communities, agreed the scholarships bear her name.
Each year since the program’s inception in 1993, the scholarship has helped support selected Aboriginal Year 10 students throughout their senior secondary years to achieve their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) and bring them closer to their future aspirations and career goals.
From 1993 to 2009 two scholarships were offered across the state to students in year 10. In 2009, Mr Chris Robinson, Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) announced that the Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarships would be extended to offer 4 scholarships per year from 2009, targeting 2 scholarships in metropolitan South Australia and two scholarships in regional locations of South Australia.
The DECD Dame Roma Scholarship recipients receive a total of $2000, $500 paid each semester during year 11 and 12 to support their academic achievements.
Feedback from past Dame Roma Mitchell scholarship recipients has indicated that the award has provided them with the financial assistance to remain at school and complete Year 12, and has also raised their confidence and belief in their own abilities. The Dame Roma Mitchell scholarship is a prestigious award and provides recognition of the potential of young Aboriginal students and the contribution that they have made to their respective schools and communities.
Scholarships for Aboriginal students have proven to be a very successful engagement and retention strategy and consequently opportunities for Aboriginal students to access a range of scholarships need to be increased. (Approximately 90% of Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarship recipients have completed the SACE).
Intending recipients are required to submit applications outlining their career aspirations and their community involvement. In addition the application must be supported by the school and provide information in relation to the student’s capacity to complete the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including information about their attendance, participation and academic achievement within the school. The application must also contain evidence of school and community support, and the usefulness of the scholarship to support the continuation of schooling and their career aspirations.
The Dame Roma Michelle scholarships are advertised to sites with Secondary Aboriginal students across South Australia through the Department for Education and Child Development regional offices, which are then distributed to secondary sites. There is also information and an application form on the Aboriginal Education and Employment Services web site www.aboriginaleducation.sa.edu.au. Expressions of interest are also published through the Aboriginal state network.
The Dame Roma Mitchell scholarship selection committee is established by Aboriginal Education and Employment Services and is comprised of the following members:
- Two Aboriginal Education Coordinators; and
- A Senior Project Officer Aboriginal Education and Employment services.
Successful recipients are invited to attend a ceremony in recognition of the recipient’s achievements and future aspirations. The Dame Roma Mitchell Scholarship is successful in developing the capacity of recipients to complete SACE.
An awards ceremony is held for winners of the Dame Roma Scholarship each year, in which the Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development presents the winners with their certificate. Friends and family of the scholarship recipients are invited to attend the awards ceremony in support of the students.