Before Canberra Grammar School started its Indigenous scholarship program last year, the school's leaders thought they were on the right track when it came to recognising Indigenous Australians, including acknowledging country at major events across the year.
But when the first seven students to enrol at the school under the program had their say, acknowledgement of country became a regular fixture at every weekly school assembly, with the students themselves now rostered to deliver it.
It's just one of many changes to the prestigious school since the program began, Headmaster Justin Garrick said at a ceremony at Parliament House to mark its first anniversary on Thursday.
The seven students from Wreck Bay, Jerringa and East Nowra, spent the anniversary welcoming the second intake, set to start at the school next year.
Keira Sloane, a Wiradjuri woman in year 11, told her future classmates she was at first excited by the opportunity, and but incredibly nervous as her first day approached.
"As soon as I got here it hit me and that night I was scared and nervous for the journey ahead but thanks to the teachers, the boarding staff and all the kids at school they've made that journey special and something I won't forget," she said.
Many of the students spoke about how hard it was at the school at first, especially as some of the first female boarders.
But it's the resilience that helped them stick it out that is part of the reason they were chosen for the program.
John Dyball, former deputy principal at Shoalhaven High School, has been a driving force behind linking the students with the school, continuing work he has been doing helping Indigenous students from the South Coast area access scholarships at boarding schools for decades.
Mr Dyball says the scholarships aren't based on academic results or sporting ability, but on resilience - "someone who is willing to test the edges of their capacity".
It was through a conversation between Mr Dyball and Andrew Leigh, MP for Fenner, which covers Jervis Bay, that the students and the school were linked, when Dr Leigh introduced Mr Dyball to headmaster Dr Garrick.
The students got to meet Linda Burney, the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, who told them to take the opportunity provided by the education.
"You can lose material things ... but there is one thing that can't be taken away and you cannot lose, it is yours and yours alone, and that is your education," Ms Burney said.
"It's very special."
The program is funded by the school, private donations and the Podmore Foundation, with scholarships covering the full length of their high school education, as well as boarding fees.
"The program is in its first year but, it has been inspiring and incredibly satisfying to see the students settle into a new environment and contribute to the broad life of the Canberra Grammar School," Stuart McNeill, the program's co-ordinator, said.