The Cape York Leaders Program, or CYLP, provides Cape York youth with opportunities for secondary and tertiary education. It also enhances their innate leadership qualities and equips them with the skills needed to return to their communities, as young adults, who can bring about meaningful change. Within CYLP is the Academic Leaders initiative, which pairs motivated Indigenous students with scholarships to reputable secondary schools and universities. Maintaining strong connections to culture, family and home communities is an integral component of the initiative, as is forging new friendships and opportunities for mentorship. The students have diverse perspectives, ambitions, and values. Our ‘Emerging First Nations Leaders’ series gives a space and a platform for their voices.
Alison Hudson is an Indigenous student from the remote Cape York town of Aurukun. She is currently completing her Year 8 studies at Clayfield College in Brisbane and has been with CYLP since 2020. Alison has made several friends since being involved with CYLP. She is an energetic person and enjoys laughing and speaking with her peers at Clayfield College. She also looks forward to CYLP activities, such as the mid-term events with fellow Brisbane CYLP students. Alison was quite shy about being interviewed, so she answered the questions with assistance from her Student Support Officer, Clem Vulculka.
Why did you choose to participate with CYLP and come to Clayfield College?
My aunty came to Clayfield College, and I have cousins who also participate with CYLP. I didn’t need much encouragement; I chose all by myself to come to Clayfield College because I knew I would get a better education here.
Leaving my family was tough, but my school friends and boarding parents help me whenever I’m feeling down. Clem also helps me by getting the things I need for school, such as sports equipment.
What things do you enjoy most about being involved with CYLP and Clayfield College?
You get to have a lot of experiences that you wouldn’t have if you stay at home. Brisbane is bigger than Aurukun and has different things to see and do.
Clayfield College is a much bigger school than the one I went to at Aurukun, which was very surprising to me. I spoke my traditional language at Aurukun school, but I speak English at this school, which was strange at first.
The people at Clayfield College are curious about what my home is like. I tell them that its like a small town up in the Cape, and that the people there have a different culture. I tell them that we speak a different language in Aurukun; we speak Wik-Mungkan. I like to teach my friends and teachers words and phrases in Wik.
I chose all by myself to come to Clayfield College because I knew I would get a better education here.
- Alison Hudson
What would you like to do once you’ve finished school?
I want to be a nurse because my grandfather was a doctor. I would like to do that in Cape York somewhere, probably my hometown.
When I am older, and maybe a leader, I want to make positive changes to people’s lives. That’s also why I want to work in health.
In your opinion, what behaviours does a good leader display?
A good leader is kind and loving. They have a good personality.
Alison Hudson, thanks for speaking with me today.