Heywire winner, Miranda – Creswick, Victoria

I remember thinking to myself ‘I should just run away right now’.

If I leave they can’t take me away.

I didn’t want my family to send me away to boarding school.

I live in Ballarat, Victoria, a small town of a few hundred people and I am a proud Gunditjmara and Kurnai woman.

Growing up in Ballarat I wasn’t exactly the type of kid you would call innocent or good.

I was in and out of the department’s care, so that meant I didn’t have a lot of freedom.

But then my family decided to send me away to Worawa Aboriginal College.

I was so angry. I thought they didn’t love me, or care about me. I felt like I had no choice, I felt like I was being punished.

The night before I went to Worawa I was lying in bed just thinking why they wanted to send me there. I felt they did not care about me, and that this was a punishment.

The drive to Healesville was the longest ride ever. I felt like it would never end.

In the car, I felt like I had butterflies fighting in my stomach, the lump in my throat got heavy and fell down into my chest as I wondered who I’d meet and if they’d even like me.

When I arrived at Worowa, tears rolled down my cheeks.

I’ve been at Worowa for four years now. I am so proud of what I’ve achieved.

This is still one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced, and looking back I now understand why my family sent me away.

They wanted me to be educated and do something good for myself.

I still cry.

But now I understand this was a good decision.

I have more opportunities. I have met some amazing people here from all pockets of Australia.