• Kalkaringi School has recently put in additional specialist teachers to support senior students. (Supplied Kalkaringi School)Source: Supplied Kalkaringi School
Kalkaringi School students Lachlan and Keenan graduate Year 12, set goals for future careers.
Sarah Collard

18 Dec 2020 - 2:29 AM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2020 - 5:26 PM

Lachlan and Keenan are celebrating: they are the first Kalkaringi School students to graduate Year 12 in more than a decade.

The Gurindji teenagers attend Kalkaringi school which services Kalkaringi and Daguragu students - about 480 kilometres south of Katherine, in the Northern Territory. 

Keenan is very proud of his achievement and hopes to inspire others to continue their education.

“I feel very proud and happy and now I am hoping to get job maybe as a school teacher or as a ranger” he said.

“My favourite subject is Maths." 

Lachlan has lived in Kalkaringi all his life and said he is happy to have completed his schooling in his home community. 

"I feel good and happy," he said.

Keenan's parents say the boys have inspired their community, with a lot of the support from brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles along their journey. 

"I am feeling proud, and seeing him finishing Year 12 will see others do the same, I think the other kids will see him as a real role model in the community," Jamesie Barry, Keenan's dad said.

His mum, Lisa Smiler has put in the hard yards working with the boys and girls at the school for the past several years. 

"He's showing other students and he'll be a role model for the future," she said. 

Kalkaringi School has about 150 students in total and for many of them English is their second and sometimes third language.

Senior school teacher, Ashton Leichton, has worked with Lachlan and Keenan in their final years of schooling and described the past three years as a long journey towards rewarding results. 

“We are so proud of them. They have really grown up and matured and turned into young men... Really good for the community, to see good things happening," he said.

Lisa Smiler said the results were just the start of a longer journey for the proud new graduates, their families and friends.

"They are the first graduates at Kalkaringi in so long," she said.

"The community is shocked, but really proud. There is many more to come."

Creation stories come to life in new interactive book series
Creation stories made with cultural custodians and children from four communities have been released as bilingual, interactive i-books, with the hope they’ll one day be part of the school curriculum.