Alexia Parenzee, Geraldton Guardian April 2015.Terina Tito is 18, but she remembers the times when she used to think wagging school was cool.
She said she was averaging an attendance rating of 54 per cent a school term, until she was given the opportunity and challenge to join the SHINE program at John Willcock College.
“I used to be really naughty to my family, peers and teachers, to the point where everyone thought I wasn’t going to make it through school and probably life, ” Ms Tito said.
“I used to think it was cool or something to flunk school and I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t think I was good at it, so I didn’t see much point in going.
“When I look back on who I used to be five years ago, I would never have thought I would be here today, training to be a hair and makeup stylist.
“Mandy and the SHINE program let me prove my potential to myself and others.
”The program works with young women who are at risk of disengaging from the education system and society, and offers broader education through hairdressing and beauty to equip students with skills for employment and life opportunities.
Students are only able to engage with SHINE if their high school attendance shows a steady improvement.
Ms Tito started Year 8 with less than 60 per cent attendance, which improved when she started attending the program.
In Year 10, her attendance started to drop again, and she was offered a chance to rejoin SHINE, which led to her re-engaging with the educational system and eventually completing Year 11 with 80 per cent attendance and graduating Year 12 with 100 per cent school attendance.
“Without SHINE I would never have finished school or graduated, and I probably wouldn’t have any drive to be successful in the future, ” Ms Tito said.
“It was a huge stepping stone for me and not only showed me I am good at something, but it also helped me to become a better person. It taught me respect and has helped set me up for the future.
“I want to qualify with hairdressing, get my certificates and diplomas in beauty, open my own business and travel the world doing what I love.
Ms Tito works at Hot Locs and is nearing completion of her first year apprenticeship in a Certificate III in hairdressing.
She is joined by fellow SHINE graduate Kelsey Nicholas, 18, who is in a second year apprenticeship for the same certificate.
Ms Nicholas said SHINE was more than a hairdressing class, it taught her to believe in her abilities and helped her come out of her shell.
“The biggest thing for me was my confidence, ” she said.
“I’d cry if anyone said anything confronting to me. I used to be really self-conscious.”“It felt like when I graduated my life started and lots of opportunities opened up to me, which before the program I didn’t think I could ever be good at.
“Without it I wouldn’t be at school and I’d probably be the same self-conscious girl without a drive or career or passion.
”Both girls were in the inaugural SHINE program, which launched in 2010.
Program founder Mandy Jolley is hoping to expand the SHINE empire and is looking for a personal assistant.
She said the demand for the program had grown exponentially since its inception five years ago, and she hoped to find more dedicated and passionate volunteers.