Skip to main content
Start of main content

First Nations Grandmother hopes to inspire next generation at CDU Graduation

First Nation grad
CDU TAFE Certificate I Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture) graduate Colleen Penangke Mack hopes her story will inspire others to believe in themselves.

Colleen Penangke Mack is a proud Arrernte and Kaytetye women, who was born and raised in Mparntwe. 

On Thursday 13 June she will address the Charles Darwin University First Nations graduands at the First Nations Leadership Valedictory Ceremony, at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.

A born narrator she will share her story of being a single mother, quitting her job to become her mother’s full-time career, to finding her voice through her own respite, her cultural knowledge and connection to Country. 

In 2017 I quit my full-time job with the Department of Health to become a carer for my elderly mother who had Dementia, it was demanding, so when the opportunity arose to spend a day or two at Angerle Atwatye (commonly known as Standly Chasm) I took it,” Ms Mack said.

It was during this time the grandmother found her passion for sharing her knowledge with the next generation and believes it is an opportunity to break down barriers for First Nations people. 

I’d love to see the younger generation have more confidence, to help break down barriers and have the opportunity to learn and grow on country.” 

“Be proud of your aboriginal culture, we are strong.” 

With over 60 First Nations students set to graduate this year at Charles Darwin University Alice Springs ceremony, across a number of disciplines including Tourism, Business, Sport and Recreation, Construction, health and community services and social work. 

Ms Mack hopes that her story of perseverance, returning to study as an adult and reaching for your dreams no matter lives circumstances help to encourage these graduands and future students to keep believing in themselves.

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership Professor Reuben Bolt said the First Nations Valedictory Ceremony is held before each formal graduation to recognise and acknowledge all the First Nations graduates. 

“During the ceremony each graduate is presented with a memento that they can proudly wear at the main CDU graduation ceremony as a symbol of the prominence CDU places on our First Nations Graduates,” Professor Bolt said.

This year the First Nations Students will graduate alongside more than 300 other students. 

The First Nations Valedictory Ceremony proceeds the main graduation, and the ceremony will begin at 4.45 pm 13 June at the Alice Springs Convention Centre. 

Related Articles

Back to top