Diana Mukayeva

Class of 2019

At the 2019 Board of Studies Awards, Diana was awarded the Law Society Northern Territory Legal Studies Award.

Diana Mukayeva

Humanitarian with passion for change

Class of 2019's Diana Mukayeva moved to Australia with her family from Kazakhstan in 2015. At fourteen, she went from knowing the bare minimum of English to representing Darwin High School in debating, mooting, the student representative council and delivering the Year 12 Valedictorian speech at the 2019 Graduation ceremony to an audience of two thousand people.

Diana at BOND University with fellow members of the DHS Mooting Team. Diana at BOND University with fellow members of the DHS Mooting Team.

Diana confesses the most challenging part of Year 12 was self imposed.

One of the greatest challenges of year 12 (and studying in general) that I am yet to learn how to conquer is not being able to rest guilt-free. I found that this affected me more and more as the year progressed and stopped me from genuinely enjoying (what was left of) my social life. I often hear the phrase “just do your best” when it comes to giving advice to future graduates. “Doing my best” however, is the kind of phrase that drives the anxiety associated with taking time to relax. It makes me think: “if I don’t study now, I am no longer trying my hardest and by that I undermine my chances of getting good results”. In hindsight, of course the time I took to rest did not impact my results whatsoever and it would probably have been beneficial to let go of my worries more often. 

Diana's advice for making the most of the final years of study is to make the most of student life and be a part of the school community.

Try something that is beyond your classes. Even if its a club, SRC or the Pride Committee. There's so many opportunities and they make school such a great experience. 

Year 12 Graduation Year 12 Graduation

There’s an endless list of great memories that I was lucky enough to create over the past three years. However all of them have to do with the amazing people that surrounded me all throughout my High School years. Be it taking part in the mooting and debating competitions or going to the International Women’s Day March, the community at Darwin High School is really what makes those memories special. It is thanks to teachers who provide endless support, understanding and motivation as well as go above and beyond to make schooling exciting that I will always think of my time at Darwin High with a smile.

Past and future studies

Diana studied English Literacy Studies, Legal Studies, Mathematical Methods, Women's Studies and Ancient Studies to complete her NTCET. 

I have had the privilege of calling both Kazakhstan and Australia “home” and through that understanding the extreme cultural differences between the two. Women’s studies helped me define and solidify the ideas and concepts that I have previously thought of but never had an avenue to express or identify as something that many other women related to. The opportunity to critically analyse elements of my life as a young woman in both Kazakhstan and Australia, discuss issues with like-minded people and then write assignments on topics that matter to me provided me with the kind of knowledge no other subject can. Women’s studies helped me connect the dots and fill out the blank spaces in my understanding of challenges that women face in Australia, Kazakhstan and beyond. I felt a connection with other students in the class as well as the amazing Jackie Dupe whose passion for women’s studies is contagious. I am truly grateful that Darwin High School offers the opportunity to take this subject as it undeniably helped shape my interests and provided me with valuable understanding of social constructs that surround me.

Diana is now attending the Australian National University in Canberra, where she is studying a Bachelor of Arts and is the recipient of the Australian Excellence Scholarship.

About half way through year 12 I finally decided what I wanted to study and where. I visited Canberra as part of National Schools Constitutional Convention, fell in love with the city and knew I had to try my best to get into the Australian National University. While I am happy I attained that goal, that is not my greatest achievement. What I am most proud of is not letting the downfalls that I faced along the way discourage me from believing that I could make my dream a reality. From submitting my application, to receiving my conditional offer, to being disappointed by my ATAR, to finally seeing my final offer, this journey was not easy to say the least. Nevertheless, thanks to my stubbornness, I will be getting on a plane to Canberra.

Darwin High School, from my experience, is a place that’s full of incredibly talented staff who truly care about their students, a place that gave me endless opportunities for growth and of course a place where I gained life long friendships. I think it is safe to say that not only is it the best school in the NT, but the best secondary school in the Universe. Diana Mukayeva

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