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Catherine SchefferYear 12 Siena College, Camberwell
Along with six other Siena students and two teachers, I embarked on an immersion to South Africa for two weeks last year, living with a host family while learning of the history and culture of the country.
I noticed that despite all the hardships of the women of Kopanang, they were some of the happiest people I had ever met. The children stood out in particular for me; happy over the slightest of things.
For example, the other students and I brought balloons, pencils and stickers, which had them ecstatic for days on end.
This ability to draw happiness from poverty and quite often, hunger and pain, motivated me to produce a series of drawings under the title Happy Sadness which will be featured in the 2015 Visual Arts Display during Catholic Education Week.
A young boy named Tyron, who was a member of my host family, personally inspired me as he was always happy despite the conditions he lived in. I grew very close to Tyron, as well as having a strong connection to other children I encountered.
It was after my time at Kopanang that I realised how much we take for granted; food, water, safety, education and much more.
Without knowing the children it is impossible to depict their current state of poverty. These children’s facial expressions show us that money is not the key to happiness.
It is my duty to tell my Siena school community that ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’
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Student Learning Needs
Student Learning Needs encompasses the following areas:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Key priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI)
Cultural safety, mentor support, parent support and community
connections featured highly as key factors that have led to successful
2014 Student Data:
The following is a list of key student engagement initiatives:
Moorina Bonini and Courtney Glass from Genazzano FCJ College, Kew, with school principal, Patricia Cowling, and support teacher, Marea Lanke, in attendance.
Toy-et Program for
Year 6 Students:
Students workshopped together with their families on practical
ways to deal with changes during their first year in secondary school. They were
also introduced to the CEOM Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education
team, who will support them throughout Year 7 in 2015.
Education & Cultural Day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
in Catholic secondary schools:
The focus of the day, ‘Honouring the Contribution of
Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Servicemen and Women’ was in line with
the national NAIDOC theme of ‘Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond’.
Students in an activity from Watta Watnanda Secondary Students day at the Korin Gamadji Institute, Richmond Football Club.
Worlds of Work
(WoW) Week for Year 10 students:
Twenty-three students participated in this year’s residential
program in Melbourne. Students visited workplaces to visit a number of
workplaces and take part in workshops that were designed to build on their
strengths, communication skills and broaden their working aspirations. In
addition to the day program a range of cultural activities were organised to
compliment and support the program. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvVAwcWnHr8&feature=youtu.be.
Year 12 Graduation
Dinner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students:
One hundred and twenty people, including Wurundjeri Elder
Uncle Colin Hunter, VAEAI representatives, families and school staff, were invited
to see 34 students from 22 schools celebrate the end of their formal years of
schooling surrounded by culture. The CEOM is contributing in a small way to the
encouraging 2014 growth in Year 12 retention rates through its student
engagement activities that begin in Year 6.
These activities are culture-based and underpin successful student
Cecily Atkinson celebrated with pride her daughter Jedda’s graduation along with Sr Glenys Dellamarta, Katrina Mock and Karen Rivalland from Santa Maria College, Northcote. Principal Deborah Barker was also present for the gathering.
Koorie Education Workers
The following is a list of Koorie Education Workers (KEWs) and their schools:
The professional learning programs offered targeted the high-needs
areas of trauma and behaviour management. KEWs were also given the opportunity
to explore the Apple online educational resources.
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