Shaunica Leecheu’s mother and grandmother set up a SET account for her when she was in grade seven at school. Shaunica was supported throughout her schooling by the funds her family put away and ended up graduating Year 12 at Blackheath and Thornburgh College in Charters Towers in 2014.

After finishing school, Shaunica used her SET funds to navigate new learning pathways, including horsemanship training with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association in Townsville, where she obtained a Certificate II in both Agriculture and Rural Operations.

Shaunica says, “Having SET around was very helpful as it allowed me to fly down to Townsville to participate in the training courses and I also done some turtle researching, where we went out and tagged them, measured them…”

Although Shaunica has been turtle tagging in her home of Hope Vale since she was 13-years-old, in Townsville she also had the opportunity to see some flatback sea turtles nesting and learned how to use the GPS along the beach. “I can now say that I have seen four species of sea turtles and I think there is another two more that I need to see, which will make me happy…”

As for future plans, Shaunica is keenly interested in pursuing further studies in land care and conservation. “I am going to start TAFE in Townsville soon to study horticulture, which will help me with my career pathway… — land conservation management.

I love to have discussions about environmental issues and I am very passionate about what is happening within the land and sea. If we don’t look after our environment, there may not be enough good sea grass around to feed the turtles.” Shaunica’s future pathway is secure with SET funds available to support her studies.