A specialised WA mentoring program aimed to improve student attendance rates among Indigenous girls has delivered a record number of graduates in Broome. Seven St Mary’s College students completed Year 12 this year under the guidance of female role models as part of the Wirrpanda Foundation’s Deadly Sista Girlz program. The successful program helped students reach their goals by placing Indigenous mentors in high schools across WA, to encourage and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls aged between 11 and 17. Broome mentors Sarani Bin Bakar, Patty Parriman and Anna Kelly were glowing with pride, having seen their largest cohort ever of Year 12 students graduate. Ms Bin Bakar said she was proud of the graduates and their determination to finish school. “This amazing achievement did not form overnight, rather it was the result of months of persistence and dedication from both the students and mentors alike,” she said. “Last year, five DSG students graduated from the same high school, which was wonderful but to have a 40 per cent increase this year is fantastic.” Ms Kelly said creating a safe and stable environment helped motivate students to attend school. “We have seen firsthand that by encouraging the girls to learn and assisting with picking them up and returning them home each day has helped to boost attendance rates,” she said. “It is very rewarding to see the St Mary’s DSG students graduate and even more exciting to think about the world of amazing opportunities which awaits them.” The DSG program also created opportunities for students to pave future career paths and achieve success beyond their school years. Earlier this year, the students travelled to Perth to attend the Deadly Futures Expo, to connect with a range of tertiary and industry leading organisations.