Program opens eyes and doors

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian

Recent Geraldton Senior College graduate Paige MacGregor may not be the typical SHINE girl, but she said the school-based program still helped her develop new perspectives on the struggles of other students.

Students Hairdressing Integrating Education, usually exclusively for high school girls with tough home lives, opened its doors for Paige when she was a Year 9 student at John Willcock College.

Coming from what she describes as a “loving home”, Paige said she learned a lot from other girls, who had vastly different backgrounds to hers.

“I was very surprised learning some of the other girls’ stories,” she said.

“For instance, I’m only one of three children, but I remember talking to a girl who was one of nine children at home.

“I was really shocked.”

SHINE director and founder Mandy Jolley said Paige was brought into the program to be a mentor for the other girls.

“She’s been a blessing in the program and a complete ray of sunshine,” Ms Jolley said.

“She’s great for nurturing the girls and helping them when they feel lost.”

Paige recently took up a traineeship at mineral sands exploration company Iluka Resources, which sponsors SHINE.

Operations manager Courtney Ackland said it was important to provide pathways to employment after high school graduation.

“Paige has been a great asset to the company already... we love to help young women achieve their dreams,” he said.

Paige is training in administration and would like to start doing analytical lab testing in future.

Although she graduated last year, she still volunteers at SHINE every Thursday to help mentor girls in the program.

SHINE is based at Geraldton Senior College, John Willcock College and recently expanded to Northampton District High School.

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