Reconciliation Sports Carnival
The weather was perfect for what would be one of the biggest Sports Carnivals held at Worawa. Schools from around Victoria and interstate came together, on the 21st of May, to participate in a reconciliation celebration in the form of sports, music, food, fun, and laughter.
The day began with a traditional smoking ceremony and after a warm welcome and the school poem, the sports games began. The netball was in high gear all day with a record 16 teams participating in the round-robin. The amazing weather allowed the participants to play hard and give there all as they vied for the Naomi Atkinson Memorial Trophy.
Eventual winners, Mount Lilydale Mercy College (MMLC) proving to be too good on the day. Most Valuable Player was awarded to Sienna Bond (Pymble), Team Spirit went to Sarah McCartney (Worawa), and the Encouragement Award to Brook Scully (MLMC).
The football games were just as intense, with Worawa losing out in a well-fought contest to Lilydale HS in the first match. Next up was MLMC vs MLC, and, in the true nature of the day, Worawa players lent a helping hand to the short-handed MLC team who could not contain MLMC.
Vying for the Louisa Briggs Memorial Trophy was MLMC and Lilydale HS, with MLMC proving too strong and winning the final match comfortably. Best on Ground was awarded to Matilda Kelly (MLMC), the Encouragement Award to Anastasia Slattery (Lilydale HS) and the Sportsmanship Award to Paris Carpio (Worawa).
Netball and football aside, there was plenty of action going on off the sports grounds. Guests were entertained with face painting, BBQ, and live music performed by Ruckus and MR. Congo, who kept everyone on their feet. A highlight of the day was watching the students, from all schools, forming a circle and showing off their dance moves. Indigenous Basketball Australia and South Eastern Pheonix ran basketball competitions while Netball Victoria, Athletics Australia, AFL Auskick, Cricket Victoria and Sportsready, who ran Indigenous games, gave the primary school students plenty of opportunities to get involved running activities throughout the beautiful grounds of Worawa.
Special guests on the day included Caitlin Thwaites and Ine-Marie Venter (Melbourne Vixens); Sarah Perkins, Matt Walker and Chad Wingard (Hawthorn Hawks); David Hickey, Jaden Weldon and Ricky Baldwin (Australian Indigenous Basketball), and Chelsea Roffey (AFL Umpire). Special thanks to personnel from the Australian Army 22nd Engineer Regiment, for helping set-up for the big day, SEDA for running the netball, and AFL Yarra Ranges and Community Umpiring for managing the football. Special mention to the sponsors Koori Justice Unit, the South East Metropolitan Region, Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria Police, Hawthorn Football Club, and AFL Victoria.
Steam Technology Academy
This year has seen our STEAM department grow to include a Technology Academy for students in years 9 and 10. Technology Academy students are exploring both new technologies and traditional technologies. As part of their new technology focus students are learning coding and animation through the software package, Alice. They have been working hard learning the program in the classroom as well as participating in ‘PC 4 Girls’ at Melbourne University, girls in the STEAM program attended by year 9 and 10 students from various schools around Melbourne. The lecturers at Melbourne University were very impressed with the Worawa students’ performance with two girls showing particular talent and potential.
Within their traditional technology focus, students are weaving each week and are well on their way to producing beautiful baskets. In conjunction with the Rangers Academy, the students ended the term by exploring traditional Aboriginal hearths with clay ball heating elements, using archaeological findings to re-create the clay heating elements, which they will explore further in semester 2.
At the beginning of Term 2, Worawa students spent three days at Camp Jungai, an exciting adventure experience, located in the scenic Rubicon Valley of Victoria. The students were put in groups that rotated through various outdoor activities, over the three days, that were designed to empower, motivate, and inspire; developing both their individual skills and ability to work in teams. Harmoniously.
The activities included high ropes, which required them to work together and trust one another as they made their way along the high ropes; canoeing, a camp favourite, required the girls to work in pairs as they learnt the basics of water safety and paddling; raft building, an activity that allowed the girls to challenge their mind as they worked together to build their raft, most of them braving the test to see if their raft would float out on the water.
The students were also introduced to a local elder, Aunty Aurora, who taught them traditional basket-weaving using the reeds around the lake, as part of their cultural session.
Night activities included a walk around the lake with flashlights on the first night, and on the second night, they all played a game of capture the flag. Both were great bonding activities that brought the students all together to enjoy one another’s company. The night wound down with yarn around the campfire while cooking marshmallows. The camp had many highlights, but it was the students facing their challenges and overcoming their fears that provided the best moments of all.
During Rangers Academy, students have gained skills in selecting, organising and representing data using hierarchical taxonomy systems such as kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. Students have begun to understand the scientific conventions for naming species as well as using dichotomous keys to identify the different traits. Students discover the means and history of species adaptation, looking at how a species will adapt to best suit their environment, and how the land may alter due to the presence of the animal.
Students study the differences in Australian environments, focusing on how a plant or animal species may adapt its behavioural, structural and physiological traits in order to survive. Rangers further create a management plan which will ensure the survival and reproduction of a species, taking into account the change in climate due to human activity.
This term during Caring for Country, students have focused on the topics of Environmental Change, Geographies of Human Wellbeing and Water in the World. Students have undergone a series of investigations in order to draw conclusions on the causes, effects and responses to environmental, social and economic issues within Australia and around the globe.
Students question realities, challenge opinions and form their own perspectives and as they look at the different choices causing environmental and social impact today. Students grow and gain skills in forming inquiry questions, independent research, mapping, graphing, the geography of Australia’s states, territories, cities, deserts and ranges as well as the analysing data on the different rainfalls and temperatures within the Australian biomes.
This term Dan and Alex from ABC Heywire came to Worawa to work on a project with the older students of the school. Heywire is an initiative of ABC Radio which is aimed at giving a voice to the issues and aspirations of regional and rural youth by supporting students to write a story aimed to educate and empower others. Once stories are completed, students have the option to submit into the Heywire competition, where 40 winners will be announced.
The winners have will have the chance to work with ABC producers to have their story featured on ABC TV or Radio, as well as being invited to the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. Throughout the day, Dan and Alex shared past student’s stories that were each inspiring in different ways and sparked ideas for the 8 girls who took part in this project.
The girls participated in a range of writing activities where they began to brainstorm, plan and write their story. This year’s girls were fortunate to have Tiara, 2017 Heywire winner, assisting with the construction and editing of the stories.
This term Kombadik have explored Persuasive Texts where students created a piece based on one of three topics; Australia day, Climbing Uluru and an Aboriginal Treaty. Students selected a topic that they wanted to research further, where they began brainstorming, researching and planning their work. Students included correct persuasive structure, new vocabulary learnt and a range of persuasive devices to enhance their arguments. At the end of the term, students presented their work to the class and at assembly, incorporating public speaking skills that had been practised throughout the term.
The 2019 AFL Umpiring Academy was conducted each Tuesday during Term 2. This year’s academy group were a very talented and committed group that worked attentively every session to learn the basic umpiring rules. This year’s group included Milena, Ooen-s’tae, Aliyah, Kyanna, Colleen, Kylinda, Bianca, Tonheya, Tamika and Lizzy, with Paris, who completed the course last year, as the mentor.
While receiving knowledge in umpiring, the sessions also provided the girls with many other skills. The course aided in growing leadership skills, confidence, assertiveness, as well as resilience. These skills were essential for the eight girls who were chosen to umpire the Auskick games during half time of the Richmond versus Essendon, “Dreamtime at The G” game. They were able to demonstrate all their umpiring skills in front of a crowd of 80,000 people, as well as facing any nervousness and fear they had by going onto the MCG with poise and self-confidence.
Health and Wellbeing
Overall the students have enjoyed good health and fitness this semester.
Term 2 has seen the delivery of a number of specialist health and wellbeing services on-site at Worawa. We commenced with Hearing Australia who screened all the girls. The College uses the Soundfield system which amplifies the teacher’s voice in the classroom to support those students with mild and moderate hearing loss.
Optometry Australia was on campus to screen for sight wellbeing. Several students had reading glasses for the first time and others had their glasses renewed.
The EACH dental van has been at school all of this term. The girls receive a basic check and clean and those needing treatments are followed up with x rays and any dental work as required. Some students will be referred for more complex care via Victorian Dental Service in Melbourne.
The Yarra Ranges immunisation nurses were also at school to ensure that each individual student’s immunisation program is up to date. These nurses have access to the national register which allows the students home community clinics to view their immunisation status. All girls received the flu injection. Access to podiatry, chiropractor, physiotherapy, and Women’s Health Clinics is available and well utilised.
The College GP Dr Barbara Hoare has been at the College for a number of days during term. The girls love ‘Dr Barb’ and she is available for phone consult when required. We are currently looking at TeleHealth available to our region as our school is deemed to be outer regional. This will enable us to seek specialist consults at school including paediatric cardiology via computer link.
The College has a healthy eating plan. The diet and menu are nutritious without empty calories with low sugar and low salt meals. Where students are particularly nutritionally deficient, their diet is supplemented with vitamins. Vitamin D and Zinc are the most widely used supplements. Zinc and vitamin D deficiency not only prevents the students from reaching peak performance it also causes sleep problem skin problems and general concentration. Carbohydrate loading is available pre sports as many of the girls play more than one high-intensity sport. Sports this semester have included football, basketball and netball. All teams having a good deal of success but most importantly they have had fun playing in community rounds.
The student’s physical capabilities are enhanced by Jade the College’s Fitness Instructor. Jade works across wellness and fitness and offers a range of gym work tailored to each student but also encourages them to participate in boxing and meditation depending on the need at the time.
The College has a multidisciplinary approach to student wellbeing with weekly Student Review Committee (SRC) meetings chaired by the Principle with heads of teaching, pastoral care, health and community liaison. The SRC considers the academic, spiritual, cultural, physical and mental health wellbeing of each and every student is considered. Referrals arise form discussions at this meeting so that the correct pathway is arrived at through consultation.
Caraniche provides counselling with psychologists experienced in working with adolescents. This provides an opportunity for psychologists to work one on one to support students dealing with worries or anxiety issues as well as giving students strategies to meet their life goals.
Boarding at Worawa provides our boarders with many opportunities to participate in sport and enjoy the sights and sounds that Melbourne has to offer.
Weekends are reserved for sport and excursions. A majority of our boarders are keen sportswomen and participate competitively in netball, basketball and football. Many of our boarders have, through their involvement in sport, developed teamwork and leadership skills.
Other activities that are organised for our girls are swimming, either at an indoor pool or the beach. We have also organised outings to water parks like Gumbuya World and Funfields. For the more energetic boarders who enjoy challenge and adventure, we organise visits to indoor playgrounds and recreation centres where they can bounce on trampolines, engage in rock climbing and tackle aerial obstacle courses.
The girls also enjoy exploring the city and attending different cultural festivals like the Greek Festival, Turkish Festival and the Hindu festival of Holi. They look forward to the train ride and the opportunity to try out the variety of food that is available in the city.
We also organise for the girls to watch age-appropriate movies at the cinemas. The younger girls enjoy our visits to the fruit farm where they learn about fruit bottling and bottle a fruit for themselves. They also go on tractor fruit tasting adventures and try different fruits that grow on the fruit farm.
Another activity the girls look forward to is shopping. Not only is shopping fun, but it also helps the girls develop life skills like budgeting and decision making. They also get to practice the mathematics skills they learn in school and can see the relevance of what they are taught.
Through education based around mainstream subjects and augmented by Aboriginal teachings and principles, students learn to succeed not only through their studies but also through the values integrated into the routines and activities of College life. They develop not only intellectual and physical ability but also moral, emotional, mental and spiritual capacity.
The Arts at Worawa
At Worawa the arts incorporate our rich heritage expressed through narrative, song, dance and visual artistic expression from both traditional and contemporary perspectives that reflects the diversity of Aboriginal Australia. The arts program is a means by which narrative can be told and developed through dance, music and visual art.
Art gives the students the opportunity to express their Aboriginal identity and connects them to their Country, Dreaming and stories. Many Worawa students come from families that are established artists and from time to time students have the privileged opportunity to paint with them.
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
Students in Year 12 this term focused on firming up their readiness for life beyond school. This included making university or TAFE course choices through to having survival cooking recipes for a student budget. All VCAL students again participated in driver education with three students gaining their Victorian Learner permits.
There was also a strong focus this term on Year 12 students gaining academic writing skills, something that will continue into term 3. It is critical that as students transition to work and higher education that they are proficient in all forms of reading and writing, from letter and email writing to intellectual enquiry. Students this term worked on essays that considered subjects such as Treaty, Closing the Gap and the importance of the education of girls and young women in all societies.
All VCAL students worked on job search skills and the commencement of vocational skills in the area of Community Services. Completion of the Certificate II in Community Services provides skills and pathways into many fields including health, social and youth work as well as education and more. Engagement in conducting and participating in formal meetings as well as being able to respond to a job brief has been a requirement this term. Most VCAL students also participated in work placement this term. It was exciting to see the addition of a graphic design placement this term for one of the students who have particular talents in the fields of art and design. Another student’s artwork was chosen for the Hawthorn Football Club Indigenous Round guernsey. The young women in VCAL are kicking goals in all aspects of their lives.
Parliamentary Education Committee Project
Early in 2019, the Parliament of Victoria and Worawa entered into a shared project to highlight Aboriginal leadership structures recounting the famous Cummeragunja Walk Off of 1939.
This project focuses on the sacrifices and commitment of the Aboriginal Peoples of the time made to fight for self-determination and independence. The political leadership and courage of those ‘leaders of the day’ saw the beginnings of Aboriginal organisations and the struggle for Aboriginal advancement was begun. The Learning Theme for this project is ‘Change Makers’
We are very excited to be creating resources that will inform and challenge Australian students to reflect on such an important event in our national history. To present resources built on Aboriginal perspectives, actual events, eyewitnesses and original records is a long-hoped-for the beginning of telling Australian history in its entirety. The truth of colonisation and the plight of Aboriginal people must be a part of the educational records and texts created for students.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike will only be stronger when they can stand on the steady bedrock of truthful and whole accounts of how this country was settled. In these units, we do present the unpalatable truth, terra nullius; removal of children and more. However, the emphasis is on the resilience, courage and strength of Aboriginal people in the face of adversity. They were courageous victors and we honour them. Some of our students have assisted with graphic work and research on this unit of study.
Within the lessons, the present parliamentary processes and structures are presented so the students can begin to understand how to lobby and create new laws and make changes. Our students are present in some of the work via a video clip where they share their ideas about making changes.
Another amazing Worawa opportunity to interface with the real world and become a Change Maker. Worawa students have many opportunities to engage in their interests. This project has allowed students who aspire to lead in any form to become more familiar with colonial history and with the lives of their ancestors.
We will inform you when the site is up on line in the Parliament of Victoria website.