Students overcome literacy fears to graduate from centre
CONFIDENCE filled the room as 16 articulate students took to the podium on Friday, an accomplishment most of them would not have dreamed possible 19 weeks ago.
Students in the graduating class of the Exodus Tutorial Centre have overcome their previous fears associated with literacy, each making a series of speeches and reading their favourite passages to a crowd of 120.
The empowered students each thanked their teachers and parents in turn, for their persistence in investing in their future.
Proud student Matthew Bailey said he realised the enormity of his success in the Exodus program.
"When I began the program, I couldn't keep up with the rest of my class," he said.
"I want to read now. I want to get a good job in the future, so it's important for me to do well at school."
Chris Tanner, founder of the innovative tutorial program in Gladstone, sees potential in every child and has empowered generations.
"I've got the passion to see kids improve," he said.
"I think everyone is entitled to have a fair chance in life."
With 8% of Australian adults classed as illiterate, Mr Tanner says every individual deserves to have a second chance.
"These kids have worked hard," he said.
"I feel honoured to be able to grant these children another chance."
Graduate Jayden Brouwers, from Tannum Sands State School, says he now looks forward to attending school.
"I would like to thank my teachers for making me more confident in my school work," he said.
"I am much more confident in my work and am really looking forward to starting Year 7 next year."
Colin Walz, general manager of Walz Group, said the students would realise in the future exactly how important the opportunity of attending Exodus is.
"All of these children have overcome such great challenges," he said.
"They would have all worked through tears and frustration and they have all made it through to the other side."