Meet Zali, First Nations Student and 2022 ABCN Foundation Scholar

Zali Reynolds, ABCN Accelerate Scholar

ABCN Foundation scholarship winner Zali is a proud student of Northlakes High School on the NSW Central Coast. Currently in Year 11, Zali is completing a School-Based Traineeship as well as studying a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance at TAFE.

In her successful application for a three-year Accelerate scholarship last year, Zali talked about her goal to be the first person in her family to attend university and her aim to be a leader in her community.

Zali is the type of student who welcomes challenges, no matter how big and her goal after school is to study psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or even social work.

‘I know I want to work in something that benefits people and gives back to the community, which is really important to me,’ Zali says.

Northlakes High School Deputy Principal Lauren Goldie describes Zali as ‘a strong role model not only in the school community but outside it is as well’.

‘Zali is one of our presidents of the AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Group) and any time we’ve asked her to participate in any programs or activities for Aboriginal students she’s always said ‘yes’,’ Lauren says.

‘She’s got a goal and she’s really heading for it. With work, school, and family commitments, Zali knows how to manage that and still be a really nice person at the same time.’

Lauren is certain that Zali will succeed in life and continue to be a leader no matter where she goes in her career.

‘Zali is the type of student who leads by example, and no matter where she ends up, I know she’ll work hard and achieve success. We’re all very proud of her.’

This year, 17% of the 42 Accelerate scholarships awarded went to First Nations students.
‘The scholarship has really helped and has allowed me to purchase a laptop and other school supplies that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise,’ says Zali. ‘Next year, I’m thinking of getting a tutor as well to help with Year 12.

Zali after receiving her scholarship in 2021.

‘My mentor, Francesca, has helped me with my goal-setting, and we FaceTime at least once a month to talk about how I’m going with school and to give me any advice.’

Francesca Atkins is an Anaiwan and Kamilaroi woman with a passion for overcoming inequalities through formal and informal social networks. She works as a consultant at Nous Group. Francesca describes Zali as ‘incredibly hard-working and very ambitious’.

‘Zali has big dreams and goals and it’s impressive just to see how much she cares about growing and expanding herself,’ Francesca says.

‘Being a mentor has helped me build my leadership skills and confidence. Mentoring makes you think a lot about yourself and become more conscious about your experience, your wellbeing and your skills because it’s also thinking about how you can transfer that knowledge onto someone younger.

‘I think for anyone else who’s unsure about mentoring, regardless of where you are in your career, there’s always an experience that you can bring that can help the mentee expand their horizons.’

Zali is looking forward to the next few years and the opportunities her scholarship will provide.

‘It’s been so impactful, from the financial support to the mentor meetings as well as getting to go to events, I’d definitely encourage anyone out there to apply.’

Read more stories here.

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