Kamilaroi youth Dion Whitfield has just finished his year 13 as school captain of Scotch College Melbourne.

Story Kirsty McKenzie  Photo Scotch College Melbourne

Scotch College Melbourne’s first Indigenous school captain Dion Whitfield says the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ was front of mind when he decided to apply for the school’s most prestigious student role at the end of year 12.

The 19-year-old became the most recent custodian of Scotch College’s long-standing tradition of completing a fee-free year 13 as school captain when he was selected from applicants from the 2022 prefect cohort of 28 year 12 students. His mission combines the functions of mentor and role model to students and roving ambassador for the school. 

Service is an important pillar of the ethos of Scotch College, which has 1900 students from prep to year 12 at its 27ha campus in Hawthorn. Dion started at Scotch College in 2020 as a year 11 student and is one of the school’s 170 boarders, who live in 3 houses in a precinct colloquially known as ‘The Hill’. A proud Kamilaroi youth, Dion was born in Moree and moved with his family to Armidale, where he completed his primary and early high school education. Dion came to Scotch College through the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, which uses tennis as a vehicle to encourage Indigenous students to gain high-quality education through scholarships at schools around Australia. 

“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of the scholarship,” Dion says. “Being school captain is a way that I can give back to the school and show my appreciation for what was given to me. I’m also cognisant that I wouldn’t have been able to become school captain without being able to continue to live on campus. I’m proud to have been appointed and hope that it inspires other young Indigenous boys across the country to follow their dreams.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #152

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2024