NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) occurs annually in July, and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians all over the country. This year’s theme is ‘for our Elders’ Our celebrations included the Bridge Walk and Awards Ceremony on Monday, craft and dreaming stories for students and staff on Wednesday and a special morning tea for Elders and invited guests on Thursday. We were delighted to hear from Shirley Hartman, Dr Vicki Crowley and Peter Crowley and the advocacy and support of Eileen McHughes and Ursula Crowley in the Ngarrindjeri community. The families, in partnership with Ngopun Together have generously donated a scholarship for a worthy year 12 Ngarrindjeri student each year. We thank them for this ongoing commitment and know how much it has been appreciated by previous recipients. We have included photos later in this newsletter.
On the 22nd of June I was fortunate to be invited to the first official Murray Bridge Clontarf event, a celebration and Awards dinner at the Bridgeport function centre with over 100 Aboriginal young men from across the state. They had just competed in two days of basketball at our Murray Bridge Stadium. What impressed me the most was the role that our young men played in the evening, with Jordan Groves who made an excellent MC, and Kedan Holland braving a barrage of questions in the ‘on the couch’ segment between awards. I would like to thank Clontarf staff Ben Fennell and Greg Carter for their organisation and enthusiasm in setting up this program over the last six months and creating the conditions for our mob to shine!
Continuing on the good news stories, and after a hiatus over the covid years, we have been able to enter a team into the iAwards again this year. It did not surprise me that Lucas Bubner and Lachlan Paul were winners in the South Australian education category after seeing first-hand the initiative and entrepreneurial thinking that went into the creation of the app Bunyip Bellowers. They will go on to represent SA at the Nationals later this year, and we wish them the best of luck!
Today we farewell Jason Hagger who heads into the Department to work as a Business Engagement Officer. Jason has been instrumental in creating bespoke digital design solutions to enable teachers to have better access to data about their individual students in a timely manner. He has also worked hand in hand with Paula Hahesy to design a timetable that allows for individualised timetable configurations so that our students get the maximum number of first preference subject choices across the whole school. This is highly complex work and I know most schools do not have this kind of skill set available to them, we have been extremely fortunate. We wish Jason well and know that he is leaving us in a good place, and the influence and expertise he has will benefit many schools in the future.
I wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable two weeks with your young people as our staff recharge their batteries in readiness for term 3.