Letitia Choppy

Born in Mackay, Letitia always knew growing up that she was different from other groups.

As a young adult she discovered that her heritage is Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, South Sea Islander and Malay.

Growing up in her close family group Letitia was encouraged to go for her dreams.

With their support she was encouraged to go to university.

"I became a teacher and learned to make a difference amongst my peers and to keep Indigenous matters alive and on the table," Letitia said.

Letitia has been involved in education for 27 years and has the role of Experienced Senior Teacher in her field.

"I expanded my knowledge further with a degree in Education that led my passion for my involvement in union affairs," says Letitia.

In 2012, Letitia became the President of the Cairns Branch of the Queensland Teacher's Union (QTU) and also the Senior QTU member for the Peninsula and Secretary of Gandu Jarjum, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee of the QTU, for Queensland.

"Through my work with Education Queensland and the QTU, I became more actively engaged in community groups at local, regional and national levels, in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, and community affairs," Letitia said.

"My passion is to have a voice, make a difference and connect issues and perspectives with and for grass roots people, and to provide these perspectives to the professional sector."

In Letitia's second year of teacher, her Principal made a huge difference in her life.

"My Principal at the time gave me the freedom to make choices that would influence and shape who I was as a professional today.

"As a youngster, my Elders also influenced, taught and guided me to never forget where I came from," says Letitia.

Letitia believes having conversations and spending time with Elders or older members in the family can be daunting, but are valuable times that provide a grounding and understanding of where people belong.

"They teach you the hidden and incidental moments of culture, protocol and respect for one's self and others around you."