Life changing education

Akiva Pacey O’Toole was the first student to walk through the doors of Alesco Senior College in Tuncurry at the schools inception in 2016. She used the opportunities Alesco offered her to work on her personal growth and work out where her life would take her. She became a dedicated and determined young lady who embraced her Indigenous heritage and in 2019 completed her HSC.

Akiva has remained focused on her goals and in 2020 played the lead role in the award winning Australian film ‘The girl on the moon’. Here she tells us more.

“Guudjiyiigu (Welcome/hello).  I’m Akiva, a proud Worimi woman from Forster- Tuncurry.

When the school first opened up I was one of their first enrolled students. When I started in 2016 I was this crazy and loud teenager but the teachers never gave up on me. I persevered with my studies and was proud to complete Year 12 in 2019.

When I graduated from Alesco, I was filled with a roller coaster of emotions. I was very nervous and a tad scared… but I was also hopeful and excited to begin my future as an independent, young adult.

Since leaving I have had the opportunity to model for a successful Indigenous business called Gillawarra Arts. I have been inspired and supported by my Aunty and my biggest role model, Krystal Hurst, who runs this company. I’m currently working on an Indigenous clothing line too. I am proud of how this clothing will showcase my amazing culture and be inclusive of every shape, size and gender.

I also had a fantastic opportunity to be in a short film called “The girl on the moon” where I played the lead role of “Luna”. This film was produced and directed by Georgina Jenkins (Birds of Prey Entertainment) and we were thrilled when it won an award in the Miami Science Fiction Festival.

I am intrigued by the world of acting. As a little girl I would say to my Mum “I’m gonna be on Home and Away” and it has been such a wonderful experience to star in this film.

It has been a massive leap to take, moving to Canberra especially coming from a small town like Forster. It was a very nerve-racking move but I’m glad I did it. I’ve been able to be a part of two Indigenous fashion shows and a film. I am excited to be continuing my modelling, to showcase my Peoples beautiful culture as well as pursue a career as an actress and a fashion designer.

I am forever grateful for every teacher at Alesco who pushed me to strive for the best in every aspect of life.”



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