When GO Scholar Taleisha stepped up to the rostrum before 300 people to co-MC GO Foundation’s 2020 Launch in February, she thought to herself, “Here I am again in over my head thanks to GO, but I am standing tall!’ Taleisha did herself proud that evening, capping off an eventful summer.

After graduating from Riverside Girls High in 2019, Taleisha was getting ready for her first semester of business studies at UTS.  She’d also recently been awarded a prized internship at Bloomberg Australia, the first GO Scholar and Career Tracker to be invited to intern with the organisation.

To Taleisha, the GO Launch seemed a world away from when she, her younger sister Aneeka and their mother Leah moved away from their Gumbayngirr roots at Nambucca Heads for a better life in Sydney. Leah left country NSW to give her girls the opportunity for a better education and brighter future, but financially things were much tougher in Sydney than they’d anticipated.

When Taleisha was awarded her GO Scholarship in 2018 at the start of Year 11, home was packed to the rafters.  Her brother had moved in with his partner and four young children and 9 of them were living in the 3-bedroom flat. “It was crazy at home that year.  I even had to put a lock on my door so I could study!”  While her GO Scholarship couldn’t keep the kids quiet, it opened a door to a new world. “When I was 16 I found myself at the AFL with GO corporate partners, and I really had to pinch myself! The opportunities I’ve had with the GO Foundation have really stretched me and given me so much more confidence.”

Taleisha has drawn on that confidence recently during National Reconciliation Week when she was invited by Bloomberg Australia to join a panel to talk about women and culture. “When I saw there were people taking part in Hong Kong, I knew it was another pretty amazing opportunity!”

18-year-old Taleisha is looking forward to resuming her internship when the pandemic is over.  In the meantime, she continues to study hard at UTS, working towards her goal of a career in the finance sector while holding down a part-time job at Coles throughout lockdown. Now a proud GO Alumni, Taleisha is committed to staying connected. “I feel I’ve been given a whole new community and I know I’ll always be part of it.”

There’s also another reason she’ll continue to be an integral part of GO. Her 16-year-old sister Aneeka has begun her first year as a GO Scholar in Year 10. “I’m so happy she got the scholarship.  I just love her so much,” says Taleisha. “We are just 21 months apart and very close, but so different.  Aneeka is studious and quiet, and I’m very noisy!”

Aneeka puts it another way, “She’s a lot more extraverted than me.  I’m more studious (and a little bit smarter!), but she enjoys it more!”  Aneeka is very proud of her big sister’s achievements and very happy to be following in her footsteps as a GO Scholar. “The scholarship can pay for all the things I need for school, so Mum doesn’t need to buy everything.  The computer is so helpful.  ”

Aneeka is now back in class at Riverstone Girls High, and she is back on the netball court. She’s still thinking about what education she’d like to pursue after high school and is focusing on enjoying her studies. “I really love modern history, but I’m not sure what I can do with it.  We’re studying the Cuban Revolution and have just learned about the French Revolution.  I’d love to travel too. It’s a big world out there.”