Mervyn Fernando was humbled and honoured to be named the Academy of Sport Health and Education’s 2017 alumni winner.
Mr Fernando’s journey began with ASHE in 2010 when he travelled to Shepparton from Kempsey in northern NSW as part of the Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways Project.
IYMP provided him with accommodation and supported him to complete a Certificate IV in Community Recreation.
Following his time at ASHE, Mr Fernando went on to complete an Advanced Diploma of Community Services at Shepparton’s Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE, and earlier this year he graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Business.
He was named the Shepparton Campus valedictorian, a prestigious college award for high-achieving students.
In accepting his degree, Mr Fernando thanked his late father for his guidance through life, which he said contributed to him being able to achieve so much.
‘‘I am proud to be the recipient of the ASHE past students alumni award tonight and would like to thank ASHE and staff for their ongoing support even seven years on from graduating,’’ he said.
‘‘ASHE has been an important, major contributor to my successes in the community to date. Moving here in 2010 I didn’t know anyone and didn’t even know of a place called Shepparton, let alone it was my first time visiting Victoria.
‘‘ASHE introduced me to the community and the people here, they supported me and my needs, being away from home and family.’’
After finishing his studies at La Trobe, Mr Fernando landed a part-time graduate position with Goulburn Valley Water in Shepparton as part of the communications team.
Next year, he plans to return to La Trobe University where he will commence a Masters in marketing.
Mr Fernando’s long-term goal is to obtain a PhD in marketing and to operate his own marketing business.