Taylah Gray's Facebook post has gone viral. Ms Gray posted she had completed her law degree from the University of Newcastle, despite failing legal studies when she went through high school.
A proud Wiradjuri woman, Ms Gray was shocked when she learned her post had been seen and shared thousands of times.
"I wasn't expecting it to get 6000 likes and 2000 shares, no I wasn't expecting that at all. I just posted it and was expecting a few comments from family and friends and not the attention it actually got," the former Dubbo student said.
Ms Gray said in her post that the 'education system ain't built for [First Nations kids] and she credited the University of Newcastle who offer alternate pathways for some of her success.
"There was a challenge between the HSC and university. I mean there was a gap between there and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to be part of ... an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathway into university. Newcastle University offer other pathways as well, because who knows, I would've fell through the gap," she said.
Now a qualified lawyer, Ms Gray felt her father and culture motivated her to follow this passion as a career.
"I always knew I had a fire in my belly, I always knew I had a fire for human rights, particular communities and my mob because we are the most over represented within the criminal justice system," she said.
"We lack land rights and I've always had that fire in my belly and especially in my fathers case who is a stolen generation survivor."
While beginning her career as a lawyer in Newcastle, Ms Gray will also start her PhD thesis on Native Title.
"Another four years of perfecting my thesis, I'm hoping to take on a pro bono case, and I'm working with another senior solicitor so I'll be doing that in the background which is exciting, it's my first case that I get to help out on," she said.
Don't let anybody or any system destroy your dreams. Walk with purpose and speak your truth. Everyone in community has a role to play, whether that's in education, revitalising language, the story tellers, musicians, the keepers of our lore and traditions. And I am so happy and so humbled that I've found my role in using the vehicle of the law to seek justice for our communities. But I don't shine, if we don't shine,- Taylah Gray
Ms Gray had a simple, yet powerful message for the youth of Dubbo and the Central West after her own experiences at school now seem a distant memory.
"I think the biggest thing is don't put too much emphasis on the HSC, I mean it's like I said in my post, I failed every legal studies assessment and exam, so not just year 12 but year 11 as well. Not one exam I passed. There are other pathways into university," she said.
"I went from failing all my subjects in legal studies to actually topping my class in advanced legal writing and research and going on to do a PhD. Don't let your HSC score define you because at the end of the day it's just a number and there are so many more pathways to take. At the end of the day just back yourself."
In her viral post, Ms Gray said everyone in the community is just as important as each other.
"Don't let anybody or any system destroy your dreams. Walk with purpose and speak your truth. Everyone in community has a role to play, whether that's in education, revitalising language, the story tellers, musicians, the keepers of our lore and traditions. And I am so happy and so humbled that I've found my role in using the vehicle of the law to seek justice for our communities. But I don't shine, if we don't shine," the post read.
Ms Gray was an integral part of the Black Lives Matter movement in Newcastle throughout last year, leading over 1000 people through the city streets before making a speech in front of the crowd.
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