GO Scholar Makayla Rodrigues can’t wait for the next chapter of her life to begin.  A 2020 graduate of Endeavour Sports High, she’s been offered early entry to Wollongong University to study a Bachelor of Social Work. “This is going to sound funny, but I love to argue,” she says. “My teachers have told me I’d make a great advocate. I’ll take on anything where I can use my voice for my people.”

Makayla was a prefect at Endeavour this year, and part of the targeted sports program for netball. “Overall, my HSC year was pretty good, although online learning was tricky at home with two little sisters and a little brother,” she says. “Surprisingly, none of us were given extra prefect responsibilities during Covid. We did get to organise our end of year formal though at Doltone House in Hyde Park.  It was gorgeous and I loved it!”

Makayla has been a GO Scholar since the beginning of Year 11.  “For me, the GO Foundation has given me the opportunity to get to know other Indigenous students, especially (GO alumnus) Bronte Charles,” says Makayla. “When I listened to Bronte tell her story in a speech, I reached out. She’s now my Tidda.”

Makayla’s connection to country and culture run deep. “I’ve lived on Gweagal and Gadigal land for the majority of my life, and only just moved to Dharawal land in Year 10,” explains Makayla. “My nan is part of the stolen generation, from Kamilaroi and Worimi country. She lives with us now too.

“I’ve thought about social work through the lens of incarceration.  On my mum’s side, my great pop was harassed by police officers.  That was the seed for me pursuing social work, I think, and it’s become something of a passion of mine,” she continues. “Aboriginal deaths in custody keep happening and it’s frustrating.  There have been so many opportunities to get it right. The thought of families going through that in today’s society makes me angry.  It brings out a fire in me, and I want to be part of the solution.”