Kayla White has won an award for her ongoing commitment with helping to educate Aboriginal people.
Kayla is the Aboriginal education coordinator at Camden Haven High School and recently received the Aboriginal Education Council's award at the Young Achiever Awards NSW/ACT in Sydney.
The award came as a surprise to Kayla, as when her name was called she didn't believe that she was the winner.
"I didn't even have a speech prepared," she said.
"I opened my speech with 'I can't even win on a scratchie and I never thought I'd be up here tonight'."
Kayla was a former Camden Haven High School student but said she struggled with her own education.
As an avid sport enthusiast, Kayla said all she wanted to do was play outdoors.
"By the time I got into Year 11 I had burnt my bridges with most of my teachers and there was no turning our relationships around,"she said.
Kayla changed schools to attend Wauchope High School and said it was exactly what she needed.
"I had a Year 11 English teacher that believed in me and supported me though my High School Certificate," she said.
When Kayla graduated she applied for a position at Booroongen Djugun Aboriginal College and worked with the Aboriginal community to help enrol people into courses.
She said it was a very rewarding job and propelled her on to pursue a career in education as a teacher.
Kayla enrolled at Sydney University and undertook a double degree of Diploma of Aboriginal Education and Bachelor in Education (Aboriginal Studies).
Kayla has five children and said the block courses at Sydney University allowed her to care for her family while studying.
Kayla said she would like to see more block programs implemented into universities, to help support parents through their studies.
“Especially for people in remote areas," she said.
After gaining her qualifications, Kayla landed the Aboriginal education coordinator role at Camden Haven High School.
"To come back as a staff member, rather than a student was much easier," she said.
After her own struggle with education, Kayla said she can relate to other students when they have difficulties.
Kayla said she wants to continue to implement cultural pride into students and the school.
Kayla implemented led many programs in 2018, including the NAIDOC Road Show which was a program taken to students as a celebration of culture.