A renowned leadership program for Tamworth's young Aboriginal community is continuing to gather steam as it moves into its seventh year. Applications for entry into the Gomeroi Culture Academy (GCA) are open until Wednesday, December 6, with 15 spots open for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students moving into year 9 in 2024. Academy director Marc Sutherland says the organisation is looking for passionate young people with Indigenous heritage to shape into the next generation of leaders. "The lives of young people can be very busy at times, and the academy is an opportunity for them to build on the work they're already doing," Mr Sutherland said. The GCA is an extracurricular organisation dedicated to providing leadership skills to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. A highlight for the academy this year was giving back to the community through several new events, from improving financial literacy to honouring elders with a celebratory lunch during NAIDOC week. The academy celebrated the end of its sixth year with a "tremendous event" at the Ibis Styles in central Tamworth on Friday, December 1. "We were able to celebrate 13 amazing young people who were able to complete this 12-month long intensive leadership program," Mr Sutherland said. During the ceremony graduating GCA students performed a traditional song and dance they developed themselves. Mr Sutherland said the performance perfectly encapsulated the academy's four main focuses: Moving with Purpose, Following the Process, Being Curious, and Learning to Express Yourself. "By combining those four elements, each young person went on a journey to learn cultural practise that plays a role in their personal development and leadership skills," he said. Adhering to the rich Gomeroi tradition of sharing stories, the students' performance had its own tale to tell. "The story they told is about how the fish in our rivers swim when it storms," Mr Sutherland said. He said he's proud of how his students have gained confidence from their cultural journey developing skills in language, arts, and dance. "To not only be able to speak language but understand how language is used in song, and then to use that language to create a song that tells a story they're passionate about, it's incredible," Mr Sutherland said. He thanked student Archie Tough for taking the lead on the performance.