Bella Perkins has had ambitions to attend boarding school for as long as she can remember. In 2020, her dreams became a reality as she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to live and study in Melbourne. Already a driven and outgoing student, Bella was eager to make the most of her education and push herself.
Since 2006, Melbourne Girls Grammar has offered indigenous scholarships to courageous young women who want to step outside their comfort zone and make the most of every opportunity.
Bella joined the Melbourne Girls Grammar community in 2020 in Year 9 as a boarder, leaving her family in Darwin to pursue this new opportunity.
“I feel that by going to school at Melbourne Girls Grammar, I am making all my family proud for moving away from home to give myself more pathways for my future and doing things that they never had the opportunity to do.” Bella Perkins, Year 10
“I am from Darwin up in the Northern Territory where I live with my mum, dad and two siblings – an older sister and a younger brother. Growing up there was a lot of fun with most weekends consisting of playing sports and spending a lot of time with family and friends.”
Bella has a strong indigenous heritage and feels great pride in representing her family in Melbourne.
“I am an Eastern Arrernte, Wurrumungu, Waanyi and Wiradjuri girl from Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Gulf country, and Narromine. It makes me proud to be a young girl who grew up in Darwin representing my tribes in Melbourne as I aim for a good education. I feel that by going to school at Melbourne Girls Grammar, I am making all my family proud for moving away from home to give myself more pathways for my future and doing things that they never had the opportunity to do.”
The transition from her family home to the vivacious Melbourne Girls Grammar Boarding House was a significant one. After some initial feelings of homesickness, Bella quickly adapted to her new life in Melbourne with the help of attentive and warm Boarding House staff.
“The staff made sure to check up on me and see how I was going, and it was reassuring to know that all my roommates were all in the same boat as me since we were all new.”
Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds and it’s really interesting to learn about each other. The Boarding House in general just has such a home vibe to it and even though it’s not home, it’s pretty close to it.” Bella Perkins, Year 10
Although she acknowledges there was a big jump in terms of expectations on her studies, Bella’s dedication to staying on top of her workload, as well as making the most of the support networks around her ensured she overcame the challenges that came her way.
“At the beginning, it was difficult for me to adjust to a different type of learning, however, there was a lot of support available. I found the support of academic tutors very helpful and found that it helped me to manage this change and made learning a lot easier and understandable. At Melbourne Girls Grammar there are also fewer distractions to take focus away from studies since it is such a positive learning environment, which made my learning more effective and continuous.”
Now in Year 10, Bella feels completely at home in the Boarding House. In such a short period of time she has gained confidence and independence and has made connections that will last a lifetime.
“The thing I love the most about boarding would have to be the diversity. It’s amazing being able to live with 70+ girls from all around the country and even the world to create new friendships. Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds and it’s really interesting to learn about each other. The Boarding House in general just has such a home vibe to it and even though it’s not home, it’s pretty close to it.”
Applications for 2021 Indigenous Scholarships are now open and close on 30 August 2021.