Simon Hayward, hailing from Katanning, has earned the prestigious Bob Hawke Aboriginal Teacher Scholarship after drawing on his tumultuous upbringing to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Mr Hayward has made it his mission to help young adults and Indigenous Australians form solid foundations in education pathways as they transition into adulthood. The scholarship is awarded to a postgraduate and an undergraduate student each year in WA, which supports aspiring Aboriginal secondary teachers to ease the financial burden of completing a teacher’s qualification. Currently undertaking a Master of Teaching, majoring in biological science and minoring in physical education at the University of Western Australia, Mr Hayward said the scholarship will help him to fulfil his aspirations of giving back to the community. “I lived in the country for a bit and I was born in the country so once I graduate I would love to go back out and teach regionally. “It’s an awesome feeling to be recognised and for only two people in WA to be awarded — I’m pretty stoked to get it.” The 23-year-old spent much of his early childhood shifting between multiple foster homes in Toodyay and Wongan Hills before settling down at his aunty’s house in Carlisle east of Perth. He then went to Guildford Grammar School in Perth to gain his secondary education. That is where he discovered his passion for teaching. “Ever since high school I always had ambitions of becoming a teacher,” he said. “Indigenous students in particular don’t see the opportunities they are given, so I want to be able to show them opportunities like the ones I had. “I come from a broken background and the reason why I want to become a teacher is because my teachers showed me opportunities. “I would love to help anyone really but at some point, I would like to work at a place that focuses on Indigenous Australians.” Mr Hayward completed an undergraduate degree in Exercise and Health before undertaking his Master of Teaching. In his scholarship application, Mr Hayward drew from his childhood as the motivational driving force behind his passion for teaching. “I talked about my journey growing up and the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher and what I really want to do with my teaching,” the 23-year-old said. “I value health and education so putting them together works perfectly. “My undergraduate degree was focused more on the body, health and sport because I’m really interested in that. “So the importance of health and education will be a fundamental part of my teachings.” Mr Hayward currently has a year and a half to go before he finally graduates with a Master of Teaching.