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By 2016

By 2016 it will be 50 years since Charles Perkins became the first Aboriginal man to graduate from an Australian university, the University of Sydney. By 2016 our aim is to welcome an additional 600 talented and passionate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into our diverse university community.

Kristy's story

Kristy Kennedy

Kristy Kennedy

Law Graduate, Legal-Aid Solicitor – Ngarrindjeri & Barkindji
Born
I was born and raised in Bourke, NSW where I spent all of my childhood and most of my schooling.
People
Ngarrindjeri & Barkindji
Schooling
I completed my schooling in Bourke up until the end of year 10. I decided that I wanted to go to Boarding school for years 11 and 12, so I attended St. Scholastica's College in Glebe.
Kristy at primary school
Motivation
I took a gap year and worked as a teacher's aide at my old primary school in Bourke. I worked in an all Aboriginal primary school class. It was an amazing experience, and one that I hold close to my heart. I still see a majority of the students and we often chat about what they are up to. I have so much respect and admiration for each and every one of them. Their influence over me almost made me change career path to that of a primary school teacher.
Going to university was never in my game plan. I seriously just wanted to go back to Bourke to be with my family, especially my grandmother with whom I was very close. My teachers, Ms Sue Shaw and Gai Marchetto at St. Scholastica's took the time out to mentor me whilst at St. Scholastica's. They opened my mind up to so many things and among them the possibility of attending university. For that, I am eternally grateful to them.
Challenge
Throughout all of my time as an academic at university, I have predominately had some sort of hardship. Whether it be through family, breaking my back or being too poor to be able to afford to eat. But at the end of the day, reflecting back, I am so proud of myself for sticking at university no matter what, for making it my priority, even if it meant that I went starving for months, I can say it was worth it. Kristy Kennedy
Sydney Uni
I'm proud that I was able to attain a double degree at the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Australia. In addition, I was able to gain a law degree from one of the most competitive law schools in the world. Most importantly though, I was able to immerse myself in learning about my Aboriginality as an academic and being able to translate that into being a fierce advocate for Indigenous issues in a very sophisticated way, something that I have struggled to do as a young person. This was something that I was able to build upon the already strong foundation that my family had provided me with as a young proud independent Aboriginal woman.
University is a liberating experience. Once you get past all of the stress associated with how to start thinking analytically and producing work to the standard expected of you at university, you will never look back. You learn lots about yourself and that thirst for knowledge will be ignited.
By 2016
I have been working in legal aid for a number of years in a specialist team called civil law service. We provide services to the Aboriginal communities of NSW. It has been a rewarding and fulfilling role and I'm proud of the work I'm doing.