When Tikarra Looke was in high school, she spent plenty of time mucking around.
"I was was so naughty in high school. I couldn't have cared less about school when I was in school," she said.
But the Wiradjuri and Dhurag woman pulled up her socks and knuckled down in year 12, taking extra classes while working three jobs to make it to university.
It paid off and, last week, Ms Looke, 22, became the youngest ever recipient of the ACT Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education award.
"Then it came out afterwards that my supervisor at the school had nominated me for the award, but she was also my old high school teacher when I was younger too," she said.
Ms Looke is an Indigenous education officer at Kingsford Smith School in Holt, a decade-old "super school" which caters for students from kindergarten to year 10.
"I kind of came into this job not knowing what I was doing, to be honest," she said.
"I just started off working with some of the kids that needed a little bit of extra attention, [then] from that just working one-on-one with them, letting them know they were supported and cared for, and trying to get them to connect back with different parts of culture."
I'll be really open with [the students]. I'll be like, 'You know what? I was doing the same thing you were doing but at the end of the day, you can't do that. You have to kind of pull it up and some point.Tikarra Looke
Ms Looke said there had been a strong improvement in engaging the school's Indigenous families, who no longer only got phone calls when their children had done something wrong.
"I've got an open door policy for all families. If there's a problem, rather than call me, most families will just come into the office and have a chat with me about it," she said.
Ms Looke said it was rewarding to see Indigenous families come together with the school community in a way that was positive. "They're coming in for assemblies, which never used to happen," she said.
She said she the mindset around Indigenous education had shifted since she was a student, with teachers often really eager to introduce Indigenous elements into lessons.
"Our job is more now focused and centred around embedding cultural integrity within the school, which is really cool because it means I get to work on the curriculum with the teachers and do resource packs and stuff like that, which I really enjoy," she said.
Ms Looke has managed all of this - the support, the professional development for teachers, the curriculum work - while continuing to study primary teaching full time. She has another semester left and has already applied to study another degree.
Ms Looke said she saw being young as an advantage. It meant there was less of a divide between the students she worked with and her. It helped them to relate, she said.
"I tell them everything, especially the high school kids.
"They're a bit more mature so they can know that I was really naughty and that some of my teachers from school work with me now and work with me in the department.
Ms Looke said she often recognised the behaviour from her own time at school.
"I'll be really open with them. I'll be like, 'You know what? I was doing the same thing you were doing but at the end of the day, you can't do that. You have to kind of pull it up and some point'," she said.
Ms Looke said she had always wanted to be a teacher and without the support and encouragement she received at school, she would not have come back to school as a staff member.
And what would Ms Looke have told herself in high school if she had needed some advice?
"Take the easy road: do the work, sit in the class, make those friendships, but be present," she said.