A visit from TJ

IGS staff recently enjoyed a visit from Tjarani “TJ” Barton-Vaofanua (2013).

TJ, now 22, was among the School’s first Indigenous Scholars, beginning in Year 2 in 2003, joining 2 Gold.

Already counting Aboriginal, Hungarian and Samoan in her heritage, TJ took up German at IGS.

Going on exchange to Germany for six weeks in Year 11 is among her best schooling memories, even though it was the first time she had been away from her family.

The experience inspired her to pursue International Studies at UTS, where she has completed three years of the five-year degree.

TJ has worked part time at Koori Radio for about 18 months, as a breakfast announcer and taking other shifts throughout the day.

She has kept in touch with IGS, assisting on a Red Earth Central Australian trip and seeing many staff and students while studying locally.

Taking a break from full-time study this year, TJ has just accepted a full time role as a Communications Officer with the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office at Family and Community Services.

“I really like the community at IGS,” TJ said. “The School has grown but the community feeling is still the same.”

Asked if she had any advice for current students, she said: “Keep doing what you love, and always keep in contact with the IGS community.”