JOSHUA Hardy loved his school in Darwin, but was often frustrated by the lack of opportunities compared with his big city counterparts.
"Darwin is a great place and very laid back but I wanted to be at the centre of things, I wanted to be a mover and a shaker," the 17-year-old said.
A family friend had won an indigenous scholarship to Melbourne Grammar and, inspired by his stories of the school and of Melbourne life, Josh put his hand up for the Year 10 intake.
Representatives from the school flew to Darwin, and quizzed Josh and his family about his suitability for the scholarship.
"They wanted to make sure we could cope, that I would cope being away from my family for an entire term," said Josh, who has recently graduated from the school.
"The interview panel flew to other other states to interview boys but in the end chose three from Darwin. I couldn't see a good reason not to jump at the chance.
"And with technology being what it is these days, it was very easy to keep in touch with family and friends back home."
While Josh went through the usual pangs of homesickness in the early days, he said his marks improved in the new school environment.
"I was always an above-average student in Darwin, but my marks got better at MGS," he said.
"I had a lot of support from teachers and boarding staff, which helped with my standard of homework."
Josh, has been accepted into an arts course at Melbourne University and plans to take on a law degree.
"My uncle is a lawyer and works with an Aboriginal legal group," he said.
"I would like to take on a similar role once I graduate, and return to Darwin and work for an Aboriginal legal service.
"The scholarship has opened doors for me and given me a head start in life."
Melbourne Grammar School offers a number of day and boarding scholarships for boys entering Year 7 and 9.
The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, and an examination is held at the school each year.
There are also scholarships for boys who display outstanding musical ability.
- For details on scholarships visit www.mgs.vic.edu.au or phone (03) 9865 7555.