Name: Catherine Pross
Being a single parent is never easy, but becoming a single mother at just 20 years of age is a tough situation.
Catherine Pross was only 20 when her relationship with the father of her son, Tindah, broke down.
“She was absolutely shattered by it,” says Catherine’s mother Christine. “She was so, so down. But she knew that she had to dig herself out of it and carry on for Tindah’s sake.”
Part of this meant building a secure future for herself and her son. Catherine had previously completed a Diploma in Aboriginal Studies, and so with this in mind she applied for a degree in primary school teaching at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield, Sydney.
“She was accepted and fast-tracked straight into second year,” says Christine. “And she’s now getting high distinctions.”
Catherine’s academic achievements are particularly impressive, considering the fact that she is also a full-time mother.
“She’s always so patient with Tindah, and he’s at a particularly demanding stage at the moment,” Christine says. “She always takes the time to read to him and play with him, waiting until he’s asleep before she sits down at the computer to study.”
Catherine is also determined that Tindah will stay in touch with his Aboriginal culture and heritage, as she herself has done.
“Catherine’s always said that she has gained so much by keeping in touch with her roots, and she doesn’t want Tindah to miss out on this,” says Christine.
Catherine always ensures that she and Tindah attend every local Aboriginal gathering, whether it’s a NAIDOC event, a fundraiser or just a family get-together. Along with her parents, she also recently travelled to Tasmania to get in touch with Christine’s side of the family.
“She’s done it hard but I know she’ll succeed,” Christine says proudly. “She’s a wonderful mother.”