It is a true privilege to be recognised by AVCAT and TPI NSW, and I will forever be a grateful recipient of this scholarship.
By Portia Yates
My name is Portia Yates; I am 20 years old and in my final year of a Bachelor of Policing (Leadership Program) at Western Sydney University.
My story is unique, it made me who I am today. I grew up in a large family, the second eldest of five children, along with mum and dad living under the same roof. We are a close-knit family, having only ever lived in three-bedroom homes and all sharing bedrooms.
I am the first in my family to go to university. I always wanted to go to university, and I worked extremely hard in school to get here. In year 12 I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue, I received offers to study paramedicine, teaching, and policing. After much thought and consideration, I went with my childhood dream of working in law enforcement and policing.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have had a close relationship with my great-grandfather, Pa Reg, a WWII veteran. Up until his passing in late 2015, I was always around at his place, often staying there for several nights to help care for him. These are times I am so grateful for and will forever cherish. Pa Reg didn’t particularly like talking about his experience of war, however, I am appreciative of what he did share with me, including when he was shot. As a young kid, I was extremely interested in the topic. In 2021, I got a tattoo in remembrance of him and our close relationship.
My grandfather, Poppy Laz and I are also extremely close, having weekly debriefs and discussions about footy. We bond over our love for rugby league, as well as our looks; my entire family say we are so similar! He is a Vietnam Veteran who was conscripted at 20 years of age, he served as a sapper between 1968 and 1969.
Every year I look forward to Anzac Day, where I attend the dawn service to pay my respects to all veterans, especially my own Pa and Pop. My Poppy Laz and some of his 13 grandchildren march with him in our local service, and then we come together as a family and recognise him; he is so special to us all.
My TPI NSW Scholarship has greatly assisted me in paying university fees and has eased my financial burden. It has helped at a significant time when I was experiencing a family breakdown, and when I was diagnosed with a neurological issue last year and had some time off work. My scholarship gives me the motivation to work hard and with much effort, through a disease that impacts me every day.
Receiving this scholarship has emphasised to me the importance of war veterans, and the great sacrifice they made for their families and their country. It is a true privilege to be recognised by AVCAT and TPI NSW, and I will forever be a grateful recipient of this scholarship.
Portia was awarded the TPI NSW Scholarship in 2022