Proud to be the first to graduate Uni, with helping hand

HARD WORK PAYS OFF: Sean Middleton graduates with a Bachelor of Business in Design and Marketing.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF: Sean Middleton graduates with a Bachelor of Business in Design and Marketing. Warren Lynam

RAISED by a single mother in a disadvantaged household, Sean Middleton proudly became the first university graduate in his family thanks to a little help from The Smith Family.

The children's charity sponsored Sean with its Learning for Life program throughout his studies and last night celebrated its 92 graduating students from Year 6 to tertiary level.

Sean completed a Bachelor of Business in Design and Marketing at the University of the Sunshine Coast and was one of just eight university graduates from the course.

Sean said he couldn't have done it without the support of The Smith Family.

"We were raised mostly by our single mother. She did all the hard work by herself until The Smith Family was recommended to us by a family friend," he said.

"We were able to get on the program right away and with the help of The Smith Family we were able to get through school and received assistance with reading programs and maths tutoring."

The Firmin sisters – Rebekah, Jasmine and Camila.
The Firmin sisters – Rebekah, Jasmine and Camila.

The children's charity helped pay for textbooks and a computer, which program coordinator Sarah Gregory said was well worth the purchase.

"Certainly from my perspective and no doubt, his mother's, we're incredibly proud," she said. "In the time that I've known him, he's a really determined young man who's always had a willingness to do his best and take advantage of opportunities through university.

"I find working with all of the students, they show an incredible resilience and a capacity to problem solve."

The Smith Family's Queensland general manager, Alan Le May, said seeing his students graduate from their studies was his proudest achievement.

"Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child delivers long-term positive benefits for them, their family and potentially generations to come," he said.

"I am extremely proud of what these students have achieved.

"Well done to them all."

The Smith Family provides financial assistance to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and provides learning and mentoring support.

To sponsor a child, visit or call 1800 024 069.

Topics:  graduate the smith family university of the sunshine coast usc

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