Koori woman Myka Richard-Matters has her eyes set on joining the WA Police canine unit after a decorated end to her school journey.
The Rossmoyne Senior High School graduate was one of two Indigenous students awarded the 2021 Rob Riley Memorial Prize in WA, claiming the vocational education and training prize.
Comet Bay College’s Caleb Langan was awarded the Indigenous ATAR prize.
Ms Richards-Matters achieved three nationally recognised qualifications in sport and recreation, education support, and community services while at Rossmoyne Senior High School, and logged 391 hours of workplace learning across years 11 and 12.
The young Koori woman is now completing her orientation before entering the Aboriginal Police Cadetship program.
Ms Richard-Matters said she had been inspired into the program by friends and family.
“I think because my parents are very hard working, they passed those qualities to me and have given me motivation to work hard to always achieve the best I can,” she said.
“Meeting the other Aboriginal cadets is really exciting and now I’m at Canning Vale police station.
“The officers are teaching me a lot of things and being on the front line you see all the things happening around.
“Hopefully I can get in as a recruit when I finished the cadetship. Hopefully the canine unit, I think that would be a really exciting path.”
Mr Langan, who watched the award ceremony by video call, is studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and intends to major in mathematical physics.
He attributed his motivation to his teachers, singling out deputy principal Michael Churchman who helped him focus and set goals.
Ms Ellery was visibly moved as she spoke about the late Rob Riley, honouring the work and legacy of the greatly respected advocate and activist.
“It is a day to celebrate what he wanted. He wanted Indigenous students to do well and to succeed… He was a great Australian and I know if he was here today, he would be super proud,” she said.
“It is a very special award and these two young people should be very proud of themselves.”
WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery presented the award to Ms Richards-Matters and to the father of Mr Langan.