Determination leads to a new sense of community

Before the age of 12, Eddie Cubillo already had his sights set on Melbourne Grammar School.

Originally hailing from Darwin, Eddie had heard about our School and asked his uncle to help him apply for an Indigenous Bursary. When Eddie found out his application was successful and that he would be joining the School as a Year 7 boarder, he was overwhelmed. “I couldn’t believe it,” says the now Year 10 student. “The day I visited to see the School for the first time, I knew I wanted to be here straightaway.”

Following in family footsteps

For Eddie, the decision to apply for Melbourne Grammar was motivated by family connections. “My cousin and uncle came here and they’ve gone on to do good things,” Eddie says. “Then, when I was first in the Boarding House, I met Caleb (Paterson, now in Year 12) and we found out we were cousins as well.”  

While Darwin feels far away from his new Melbourne life, Eddie says being part of the School community has been a transformative experience.

“I know I made the right decision,” he says. “The opportunities we have here, living in a city like Melbourne, are so much wider than what we would’ve had at home. People down here have different connections and go on to different jobs and pathways. It’s something I really appreciate.”

A powerful sharing of culture

Eddie’s favourite Melbourne Grammar experiences so far include activities like participating in our winter food drive, playing football, and being part of outdoor education trips. But above all, it’s been the opportunity to share his culture with other students that’s meant the most to him.

“We put on a dance performance for Reconciliation Week, and that was my favourite thing I’ve ever done at the School,” he says. “It’s representing who we are and our cultural background. The other boys said it was really powerful to see. A lot of them probably haven’t had much contact with Indigenous people before, but once they learn how serious our culture is to us, they really admire it.”

Indigenous Program Manager Robbie Ahmat has witnessed Eddie’s dedication since joining the School community, and predicts big things for his future.

“Eddie won’t just open doors, he’ll knock them down—he doesn’t take no for an answer,” Robbie says. “He tries his best in everything, and that’s all you can ask for in anyone. He doesn’t quit.”

“I’m very grateful to all those people who have contributed to the Indigenous Bursary program. Coming here has changed my life and shaped my future,” Eddie says. “I’ve been very fortunate to come to Melbourne Grammar. When I leave school, I want to help others to have a better life.”

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