Gangulu man Adam Curran is passionate about educating our future generations.
As the country celebrates national Close the Gap Day today (Thursday, 16 March), the high school teacher is hoping to spread a message that education – in addition to health equality - is also key to closing the gap when it comes to Indigenous success.
"I genuinely believe that education is a critical part of closing the gap," Mr Curran explained.
"Every day in the classroom I try to involve opportunities to learn about Indigenous culture and history for all students," he said.
"Importantly for Indigenous students who might not be aware about stories or traditions due to them being lost, learning about culture aims for these students to be proud of their culture and move away from being shameful of it. For other students as well, learning about culture and history can help their understanding also becoming more appreciative of Indigenous history. Besides boosting understanding for everyone, equipping Indigenous students with the skills and knowledge they need for life is also very important so they can go and live a happy and healthy life and go on to do what they want to do."
Mr Curran, 21, is a CQUniversity Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate and teacher at Mount Morgan State High School near Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
"I went straight from school into uni and then back to school!"
"I chose a career in education because I feel passionate about helping young people find their way in life and learning more about the world around them."
Jirrbal man and CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President of Indigenous Engagement Professor Adrian Miller agreed that education was one of the keys to unlocking inequality for First Nations Peoples.
"There are many ways in which education plays a part in closing the gap and while we are seeing a slight increase in the proportion of First Nations students attending university and completing their degrees, we are still well below the target of 70 per cent by 2031," Professor Miller said.
"The gaps have not closed and in some cases the gaps have widened, so today, I hope that a clear message is received by all levels of government that our nation values education equality as a fundamental right."
Mr Curran provided his fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with some sound advice regarding their education futures.
"I think it's important to appreciate that we are still here. To be truly grateful for the life we have been given can help all of us understand that we shouldn't waste that opportunity," Mr Curran explained.
"While we are often faced with struggles and hurdles in life, doing our best to take every opportunity fully and to the best of our abilities are the keys to success."