Worawa Term 3 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Community Outreach

Whilst the students were back in their home communities during Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions, Worawa introduced a meal delivery service to support Elders and vulnerable members of our community. The Meal Service operation consisted of 45 nutritious meals prepared three times per week by Chef Robin Sutcliffe which were delivered with contactless delivery by College staff.

At the commencement of Stage 4 restrictions the College re-commenced food delivery service with food prepared by local Chef Tim Campbell owner of the prestigious The Mabel Restaurant. Worawa students prepared Care Packages of sanitizer, masks, wipes, cards, reading material and handwritten messages from our students for distribution to the community. Worawa efforts have been warmly welcomed by Elders and community. We wish to acknowledge the support of the Department of Justice, Eastern Metropolitan Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

Health and Wellbeing

We are pleased to announce that Dr Emma Weiz has joined the Worawa healthcare team. Dr Emma is attached to the Monash Children’s Hospital and has a special interest in paediatrics and adolescent health. Our twice-weekly telehealth clinic with Dr Emma has contributed to providing a high standard of medical care for students.

The Nurses Clinic, now located in the College’s new building, provides a warm, friendly, safe environment that offers a balance of consultations, telehealth appointments, medical health check-ups and first aid.

The focus on this term has been obtaining and maintaining maximum health and fitness. We aim for this through educating girls to understand how a growing teenage body works, how to manage wellness through a holistic approach to nutrition, sleep hygiene, exercise, forming respectful relationships, and developing resilience.

In order to provide the students with the best possible health care, the College utilizes many services and supports. During this term, we have had emergency dental treatment organised through our partnership with Healesville Dental Clinic and hearing checks with Australian Hearing and some students had eye exams. Caraniche psychologist services continue teleconferencing as required and a partnership with the Get Well Clinic in Healesville provides a holistic approach to student health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing is an integral part of caring for the students at Worawa Aboriginal College and ongoing communication between teaching, boarding and wellbeing staff, ensuring any issues are addressed and then monitored.

Morning briefings between Wellbeing and teaching staff, allow the Wellbeing team to confer with teachers on students that may need extra support. Afternoon handover between wellbeing and boarding staff notifies the houseparent of any issues with students arising during that day which may affect the house during the evening.

The College COVID-19 Management Plan has required implementation of strict regimes across College operations. This has had some effect on student wellbeing due to restricted contact with other students and external activities. Whilst this has been challenging, girls have done very well in adapting to operations in a COVID-safe environment.

Boarding House Operations

The girls have done extremely well at adapting to boarding routines and online learning in the houses in accordance with the College’s COVID Management Protocols. Girls are showered and ready for breakfast, which is now served in the houses, by 8.15 am. Each girl is allocated a designated shower and toilet to use, and a seat around the dining table and the lounge. Temperature is taken and recorded and chores are completed following COVID Management Protocols.

Girls get ready for online learning at 9.15 am where they set up their tables in their rooms with the days learning resources and materials. A Day Supervisor is assigned to each house to assist the teachers and help the girls with their learning.

Meals are prepared in the kitchen and packed individually for students and delivered to the houses. Tables and other surfaces are disinfected between meals.

Girls remain in their house groups and do not physically interact with students in other house groups so as to keep them safe. Adults wear masks at all time when they are in or out of the houses. The girls are required to wear their masks when they leave their houses but do not have to do so when they are in their houses.

Additional measures are provided by contracted cleaners who undertake touch point cleaning throughout the day. To assist in preventing contamination and spread of infectious conditions all student washing is done by the College laundress every alternate day.

Girls are encouraged to go outdoors during their breaks in between lessons and Zumba classes have been introduced during lunchtimes. The girls are also rostered to go to the gym for a work out at least once a week after school.

Temperature is taken and recorded in the evening before dinner and the girls’ complete homework before getting their phones and having recreation time. Girls are in bed by 10 pm on a school night

On the weekends, girls continue with their morning routine of shower and chores and participate in organised creative and fun activities such as painting on boomerangs, clay modelling, sewing, baking and dessert making, walks, picnics, theme parties and dance-offs. All activities adhere to the College’s COVID protocols.

Caring for Country / Geography

This term in distance learning, years 7 and 8 Caring for Country students have undertaken a new Unit named Changing Nations. Students investigate the changing human geographies of countries around the globe. The distribution of populations is used to show students social change, they consider why people move from one place to another, also known as ‘push and pull factors’.

Students further understand how jobs, education, culture and family may influence where someone decides to live, as well as cases where people are forced to move from their homes such as war and natural disaster. Asia is used as a case study continent where students learn about shifts in population around megacities such as Tokyo and Mumbai.

The sinking megacity of Jakarta is researched and analysed as students make a risk assessment of moving the sinking city to a new location in the jungle island of Borneo, and what this may mean for local island residents. The skills of research, data interpretation, comparing, analysing and personal reflection are focused on throughout the Changing Nations Unit.

In years 9 and 10, Caring for Country students begin their new Unit of Geographies of Interconnection. Here students understand how the world around them is becoming ever more connected. Students explore connection through the process of globalisation and how they too are world citizens. Asia and Oceania are the case study continents for the Unit, where students investigate the effects of production and consumption of goods on people and environments.

Students reflect on ways in which they are interconnected with the world, the land, their culture, family and friends. The skills of comparing, analysing, communication, using evidence and giving opinion are focused on through the Geographies of Interconnection Unit.

All students have adjusted very well to their online learning, engaging and participating with interest and enthusiasm.


During this term, we have investigated kinetic and heat energy through traditional fire starting methods with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge of energy. We have explored the concept that energy appears in different forms, including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and energy transformations and transfers cause change within systems and in some situations can form a chain of this transfer and transformation process.

We have explored how our connection with fire has changed within society and how people use science understanding and skills in their occupations and these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activity when Fire is involved such as Bushfires and Hazards within family households and the community.

Sports and Health

Learning at Worawa during Term 3 looked very different for our students. The Stage 4 lockdown saw all classes move online with onsite girls participating in their learning from the boarding houses. Both staff and students demonstrated a high level of resilience and agility as they navigated the challenges imposed by limited movement and working in a digital space.

Everyone is commended for their amazing achievements as they developed new skills, rapidly grew their digital literacy and worked together to problem-solve new challenges all while following the Worawa curriculum.

We are all looking forward to the return to some normality however we intend to take the growth and new skills we have gained through this experience into the new normal.

Students have participated in a wide range of sports and activities this term, including badminton, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and fitness and circuit training. Remote physical education has presented its challenges but with great leadership from the VCAL students and supervisors, who helped run the sports activities, they were able to have some successful classes.

The VCAL students organized a scavenger hunt as part of their Personal Development Skills class which required them to complete an activity. They were required to organize the event from conception to completion including the activities and resources. The whole school had a great time participating and it was a great way to get in some fitness.

A highlight of the term was having Australian and NBL player Mitch Creek, run a basketball session for the students on zoom. He ran the students through a number of skills and drills ending the session answering any questions they had.

In Health, students developed knowledge about preventative health practices and taking care of their own and others’ health and wellbeing as well as expanding their knowledge of the physical and emotional changes and transitions associated with puberty.

In Health and Human Development, VCAL students developed an understanding of the complex nature of health and wellbeing, and human development and regarded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on health.

Reading Week, which was developed around the celebration of Indigenous Literacy Day, was also a highlight. These dates saw a number of English activities developed, focusing on giving students the opportunity to reflect and share thoughts, ideas and dreams for the future.

This was especially memorable during the challenges we are all currently facing and highlights the resilience of our students to continue to nurture their love of learning.

Shape Is More than Just Shapes

During the Term in Mathematics, the students have been working on topics related to Shape. As the term progressed, students developed their ability to use algebra equations and methods for finding unknown interior angles.

We soon discovered that the topic of Shape was more than just being able to name shapes according to their sides and angles. The topic also including developing a known repertoire of words and symbols that relate specifically to the topic. As such, there were times when we knew the size of an angle by reading the non-written information.

With the number-crunching of finding unknown angles sorted, we moved on to creating and drawing 3D objects. In the context of remote learning, this was quite a different experience as students worked with paper and scissors at their desks, working to create a net that would fold into a prism or pyramid without the use of a preprinted pattern to follow.

We had varying levels of success, which held with it the life lesson of trying and trying again in order to achieve the desired outcome.

To finish our unit, we worked on developing the ability to draw 3D shapes and to create 3D lettering. For letters such as S, O and D, this can be quite a challenge.

Our final lesson was on Tessellation as we sought to create a pattern using a 2D shape that had no gaps or overlaps. Our conclusion? Shape is much more than just shapes.

English and History

Term three began face-face in the classroom and quickly transitioned into distance learning from the boarding houses. Teachers really enjoyed the short time we had to welcome students back to school and into our new classrooms. Welcome banners, work displays, Vocabulary walls, NAIDOC posters and language maps provided a nurturing and inclusive environment.

To further develop English skills and expand upon historical understanding English and History were combined this term as students were provided with opportunities to develop their knowledge of key Aboriginal people and events; such as Pearl Gibbs, The Day of Mourning, the 1967 Referendum, Eddie Mabo and Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill Walk Off.

Following the changes to onsite teaching and learning, teachers quickly pivoted and developed a routine and learning experiences to best suit distance learning. Teachers were passionate and dedicated in their efforts to ensure distance learning for students was engaging, meaningful and a space to learn. This term, a range of digital literacy programs were utilized and included: Click View, Menti, Cars and Stars and Padlet.

These programs were used to continue to develop student skills in reading strategies; research; support students to identify and explore primary and secondary sources and provide a digital space to present understanding.

The interactive features of the programs also provided opportunities for students to share their thoughts and opinions in a variety of ways. Students continued the weekly spelling program and their reading skills development through daily Reading Fluency.

Choosing to incorporate the English and History curriculum saw the development of innovative learning materials that explored visual and written sources through an Aboriginal lens. Each week we focused on a key Aboriginal person or event.

Students examined their experience, contributions and efforts made by individuals and collective groups to bring about change and the ways in which events and stories can be shared through images, song and written texts. Reading to Learn strategies were embedded in the lessons, through Detailed Reading and Joint and Individual Construction, to expose students to higher-level texts and to develop their reading, writing and comprehensions skills.

Students were also engaged through learning experiences linked to key events that took place in Term 3. On National Aboriginal Children’s Day students reflected on what issues matter and what visions they see for future generations.

Students also enjoyed participating in activities linked to the AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round and the football match in Darwin.

VCAL Business Certificate II

VCAL students have passed the first subject of the Business Certificate II ‘Contribute to the health and safety of others’ with great results. In class, we discussed hazards and risks both in various workplaces as well as in the home environment.

We reviewed the work of the Dhimurru Rangers in East Arnhem land and the tasks they have to carry out on a daily basis. As a class, we talked about the hazards and risks they need to be aware of as they carry out their work in isolation a long way from Nhulunbuy.

We now move on to our next subject, ‘Preparing for employment’. This involves looking at what we can bring to a workplace in the way of skills and attributes, what the interview process is like and how to present yourself in the best possible way at the interview and during your working life.

VCAL Numeracy

This term for Numeracy, the VCAL students have been planning, designing, and building a model of a bedroom for one of their classmates. They began by carefully considering what things they would need to have in a bedroom if they moved into a share house. The students then met with their client to discuss their colour preferences, desired furniture and other design constraints for the bedroom.

As part of the planning process, they researched award wages for different jobs and other potential incomes. After a lively discussion on how much it costs to rent and run a house, the students worked out a budget for their bedroom.

Based on their clients’ preferences, the students found furniture and other accessories online to include in their room. After careful consideration of the ideal placement of furniture and the best use of space, they drew a to-scale plan of the bedroom.

The last and longest stage of the plan was to create a 3D model of each item. This part involved the students using prior and new knowledge from a range of areas in Mathematics. After a few setbacks, the students persevered to create wonderful to scale model furniture.

Despite the changes and challenges of this term, the VCAL students have been enthusiastic and dedicated throughout this whole project.

A big congratulations to our budding architects and interior designers for the great work they completed this term.

VCAL Oral Communication

This term in VCAL Current Issue, year 11 and 12 students undertake an independent research project to present to the class.

Students were required to deliver a ten-minute oral presentation to the class via Zoom, detailing statistics, maps and graphs alongside their strong personal opinions on the matters.

Students chose topics such as the refugee crisis in Libya, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, racism in Australia, life inside North Korea and the different forms of personal identity.

Students have progressed immensely in their abilities to give their oral opinions, using evidence and articulating the facts and stats around current world issues.


During this term, we have taken time to develop a case study for the careers found within the Police Force both within State and Federal levels. This has allowed students to investigate a wide range of occupations, and the skills and personal qualities required in these fields both working directly with the community and within the organisations. At the start of the topic, we watched the documentary called “Our Law” about the Warakurna Police Station in WA that is entirely staffed by Aboriginal Police Officers. This was inspiring for many of the girls. By focusing on the job clusters explored through term one and two, we have taken a cluster focus to explore the Police force. This has included identifying types of workplace communication and the effect of context on the choice of communication, the need to explain the importance of teamwork and collaboration and the range of skills and attributes necessary to work effectively in the 21st century and in remote contexts.

Students have also explored the differences in the roles and their need for empathy and resilience to help identify the attitudes and skills required for self-directed and lifelong learning.

They have developed strategies to plan, implement and processes to improve their learning and therefore, enhance the potential to realize their aspirations and personal wellbeing and to become positive role models and leaders within and outside their communities.


During this term, students analyse features of Australian democracy and explain features of Australia’s democracy that enable active participation. They recognise different types of law in Australia and explain how laws are made. They identify the diverse belief systems in Australia and analyse issues about national identity and the factors that contribute to people’s sense of belonging.

When researching, students develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance. They explain different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take into account multiple perspectives, use democratic processes, and develop solutions to an issue. Students develop and present reasoned arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts. They identify ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts.

Students have had the chance to explore the vital role that the public can have in the decision-making process for local, state and federal government. This has included the need to enrol for voting, petitions, and creating focus groups and panels to explore issues from a variety of perspectives.

Download Term 3 Newsletter 2020

2020 Indigenous Guernsey

Designed by proud Nyarinyin Pitjantjantjara and Yankuntjantjara woman Justine Ronberg.


Ronberg, a former Worawa Aboriginal College student, entered a school competition in early 2019, with hopes of creating a piece of artwork that would be forever be etched in Hawthorn’s history.

Her work was selected by Hawthorn Indigenous players Chad Wingard, Shaun Burgoyne, Jarman Impey and Mat Walker, who felt a strong connection to the stories represented in her design.

The design features symbols that represent the many different aspects of AFL. From footprints signifying the journey players embark on to achieve their AFL dreams, to a layer embodying the wider brown and gold family, members and supporters, the intricate design is stacked full of unique stories and symbolism.



Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2020

Worawa’s Changing Landscape

At the end of Term 1, planned work on College buildings and grounds commenced. The works included removal of two portable buildings, completion of a new classroom complex to house classrooms, health and wellbeing and a staff room. Works included a facelift to the recreation room, landscaped gardens and new pathways. The next stage will see the development of the Worawa Heart and an outdoor fitness station. We are looking forward to seeing the students’ reaction to the new developments upon their return.

Artwork Opening Doors

We are delighted to present the amazing work by artists Khatija and Azeza Possum Ramzan, daughters of artist Michelle Possum Nungurrayi whose father was world-renowned artist, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Khatija and Azeza have clearly inherited the family talent and we are proud to share this story. In the tradition of Aboriginal storytelling, the doors of the new buildings are meaningful and reminiscent of the story of Elders of Papunya who, in the ’70s painted school doors to encourage Aboriginal involvement in the school to bridge the gap between Western and Aboriginal knowledge systems. This beautiful work is on permanent exhibition for all to enjoy.

Artwork Opening Doors

Steam at Home

During distance learning, students learnt that scientists seek to gather knowledge to help us understand our world and that they do so in a very structured way using observation and experimentation, keeping detailed records, making inferences and predictions and writing reports.

During our distance learning unit, students explored what Science is and how Scientists work. They did so by completing everyday tasks while thinking, acting, measuring, experimenting and reporting like a Scientist. The aim of this task was to support students when drawing links between traditional knowledge and school knowledge and to develop their confidence in using English and Scientific terminology when discussing these links.

It has been an amazing experience working with students while they are at home, seeing their botanical drawings and having discussions about the processes that have occurred while they cook their dinner. We are very much looking forward to having students back on campus for Term 3.


Art at a Distance

In Art, we focused on the Elements of Art: colour, texture, line, shading and more through set Tasks and Projects.

The Tasks varied from Photography, Drawing, compiling found objects to create jewellery designs. With drawing we first started with learning how to shade, how to draw a basic eye, how to draw cliffs, shading and drawing 3D water droplets.

Students also learnt how to draw a hyper-realistic 3D eye. The students then photographed their Drawings and Photographs and uploaded their completed tasks and projects to their Art folder within Class Dojo.

This is where I could comment on the submitted tasks and give one on one instruction on ways to further develop and improve the skills being used within specific Tasks.

As phone photography was used to take images of various art elements or finished work, photography tips helped students to improve their photography with outstanding results.

I’m sure we are all looking forward to getting back into our beloved Art Studio and getting creatively dirty hands once again.


During distance learning, students were challenged to reflect on the history of their surroundings. Students were asked to speak with relatives and Elders of their history and record the major events of their life thus far. Historical sites, landforms, landscapes and structures were investigated in order to report on the meaning, significance, location and possible date of creation.

Students were encouraged to record a story from a landform or landscape nearby, either sharing a Dreaming story, a positive experience they have had at the location, or a story about what may happen when they visit. Students were asked to focus on the skills of ordering information and sequencing events of what may exist around them.

Caring for Country

The Caring for Country online program for years 7 and 8 focused on the unit ‘Landforms and Landscapes’. Students examined the processes that shape individual landforms and the values and meanings placed on landforms and landscapes by diverse cultures.

Students explored landforms such as The Three Sisters, Uluru, Katherine Gorge and the Bungle Bungles. Students were directed to find similarities and differences between landscapes such as deserts, rainforests, coasts and grassland, locating the major landscapes in Australia and around the world.

Students shared the significance and connection to the land around them, giving examples of what their surroundings may look like, sound like and feel like.

In years 9 and 10, students have continued to explore the unit ‘Biomes and Food Security’ and were encouraged to discover the biomes found in Australia and around the world, investigating the different types of foods and fibres that can be grown in these environments.

Students reflected on their surroundings, describing the types of foods and fibres that can be grown around them and how these are used. The work culminated in a local case study to investigate the means of food insecurity and how access to foods and water sources could be improved.

Civics and Citizenship

Civics and Citizenship for the Year 9 and 10 students explored Treaty and the vocabulary used around why a Treaty is necessary. We looked at the impact of Peace, Alliances, Commerce, International Relations and Sovereignty. In doing so we also looked at how the Waitangi Treaty in New Zealand was formed, Self-Governance in the Yukon and how some countries manage to escape any form of war both within their borders and with other countries.

It gave the students the chance to form ideas and think about what the future could look like if a treaty were put in place in Australia, how it would impact the perception within and outside Australia if our country were to formally acknowledge First Nation’s people in a treaty, and how that might lead to other improvements. Looking forward to seeing all the activities from the students that have not been able to be online and hope our future leaders push for change.

Next Term we will explore the Australian Government System, this will include the levels, representation at the different levels of government and what they mean regarding the needs of all Australians.

Each student will create their own community profile and find their local representatives for all the levels of government. We will also look at the involvement of First Nations People becoming political representatives and giving their voice in Parliament.

VCAL – Current Issue

VCAL students explored current issues involving COVID-19, inequalities of social distancing and discriminatory thoughts and actions towards people from China due to the origins of the virus. Students held a facilitated pre-discussion on the given topic in order to establish their thoughts and opinions. This was followed by analysing a chosen text or video, recording points that are for or against the students’ initial thoughts and opinions. Students were then asked to hold a post-discussion in order to share gained knowledge on the topic, noting down their new opinions with evidence to back.

Distance Teaching and Learning – The New Normal for Term 2

Proving yet again how resilient and motivated Worawa students are, we all prepared for the new normal at the end of the last term in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Students headed home early with education packs to last them for the weeks ahead as well as apps they would need for the weeks ahead.

Fortnightly education packs were then sent out and included work that was accessible to our students, even if they had to work alone. They were sent to students in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. Teachers and Wellbeing staff worked to establish strong contacts at home and with those in the community who could support Worawa students. This term teaching happened via phone, Class Dojo, Zoom and all other methods available. We also had some amazing support from local community schools, youth centres and from families and friends.

A significant highlight was the self-motivation and commitment to learning that Worawa students displayed, even when faced with transport, weather and other challenges, the most significant being the need to work alone at times. It is a credit to their passion for learning and their desire to walk successfully in Two Worlds.

Well done to all Worawa students who have made the best of this most unusual of circumstances.

Worawa and Australian Girls’ Choir on Zoom

Every Tuesday afternoon during Distance Learning, staff and choristers from Australian Girls’ Choir and the Worawa Choir joined forces to sing together via Zoom.

Singers spent time practising and perfecting some school classics; Burra Ferra and Yellow Bird. This provided not only a connection for Worawa students with something they love doing but also gave all participants a sense of community and connection at this difficult time of isolation.

At 3 pm Victorian time, girls joined a Zoom breakout room to sing up a storm! It provided positive morale and something to look forward to in the week ahead.

English – Strong Women

Term Two has seen the English Team and students quickly adapt to a distance learning model. Students completed activities to develop and extend their reading, writing, spelling and grammar skills while exploring the stories of Cathy Freeman, Truganini and Rosa Parks.

When the realities of the COVID pandemic became apparent, the school moved to distance learning to keep our students safe, focused and engaged as they continued their learning journeys from home.

Worawa girls were amazingly adaptive and moved quickly to these new ways of learning.

English teachers engaged in extensive professional development to explore the most successful and engaging ways to support students remotely.

As students were returning home to family and community, teachers saw this as a valuable opportunity for learning on the country, sharing stories and reflecting on students’ passions and challenges.

Accordingly, an English Unit was developed around the theme of Sharing Our Stories. Through this, the students read and researched the journeys of previous students and girls heading off to boarding school around Australia.

They were encouraged to speak with family and share their stories exploring the challenges they have faced in their learning but also connecting with their passions as they grow and develop into young women learning to share their valuable thoughts, ideas, beliefs and stories.


While the students have been at home it has been a great way to explore the Job Clusters. These are skill-based clusters where jobs are linked by the tasks required and not the work setting. The students have looked at local employment opportunities and interviewed people in their family about the jobs that they do and the skills they might need to do those jobs.

We have combined our knowledge from the last term about Personality and our skills interests to see what clusters might appeal to the students for future consideration. Many of the students that have been online have found similarities and some have found contrasts between interests and what they imagine their future job to be which has been a great chance for each of the girls to think about what they might need to do, skills they could start to develop even at school, and for some, the chance to look at jobs they have never thought of before.

For our younger students, this has been a challenging term, but it has been wonderful to see them building interest and motivation with each term as they learn more about the world of work. Hoping to find some wonderful artistic interpretations of the job clusters when we return to Worawa. Next term we are doing a Job Skills Case Study with a focus on the Job Skills required to work as a Police Officer, a popular career choice amongst many of the girls.

Maths Mastery

During the term, students have been learning and practising their Mathematics skills in a variety of ways, including using an online program called Mathletics. Mathletics is an educational mathematics program that can be used on computer, tablet or phone. Before leaving for the term holiday in March, many students excitedly downloaded Mathletics onto their phones so they could complete tasks during their time at home.

Mathletics has levelled activities, tests and games for every area of Mathematics that directly align to the Australian Curriculum. Each student has their own login where they can customise their background and complete work that has been chosen specifically for them based on their prior knowledge. The students receive points for completing activities that contribute to the students achieving Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. When students have completed their set activities, they can choose to play educational games or spend time learning more about an area of mathematics of their choice.

This term, it was fantastic to see many students’ enthusiasm for growing their mathematics knowledge and skills, with some students on Mathletics for more than four hours in one week. Mathletics allows students to retry activities they have previously done to achieve better results. Some outstanding students demonstrated their rigour and responsibility to learning by attempting activities multiple times until they completely understood the new skills. Congratulations to all students who showed their dedication to their education this term by working online and challenging themselves to further develop their understanding of Mathematics.

National Reconciliation Week

27 May – 3 June 2020 ‘In this Together’

National Reconciliation Week is an important event on the Worawa school calendar. The 2020 theme, ‘In this together’ encourages all Australians to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia’.

Worawa normally marks this symbolic event with a Reconciliation Sports Carnival, bringing together Government, Catholic and Independent schools in the spirit of reconciliation to share sporting, cultural and social exchange.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year we’ve had to postpone the event but still wanted to mark this important time in our distance learning program. To give recognition we developed a unit of work where students could reflect, research and act on events that they felt strongly connected to. Students reflected on what Reconciliation meant to them, their families and their communities.

‘Our History, Our Story, Our Future’ provided students with a stimulus to consider and write about a change they would like to see in Australia. They also viewed ‘The Children Came Back’ – Briggs & Gurrumul and completed a task which involved researching Aboriginal heroes and finding out what they were known for.

Students welcomed a virtual visit from Hawthorn football star Chad Wingard who shared messages of commitment, resilience and hope.

These learning opportunities will lead onto our unit in Term 3, where students will research key Aboriginal heroes and significant recognition and reconciliation events.

Download Term 2 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Term 1 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Model of Wellbeing

Within a boarding education environment, the issue of relationships is fundamental and this has been a focus this term. Attachment theory suggests that it is within the relationships with other adults that young people learn how to best grow and develop.

It is within these relationships, the everyday interactions, where modelling and care are demonstrated in small units of exchange between adolescent and adult, that young people learn to be safe, calm and curious.  The relationships that are developed and formed between students and staff provide a predictable secure base where students feel seen, heard, safe and secure. This provides an environment where students feel safe when they are appropriately challenged; facilitating learning experiences to help them explore and learn.

Since its establishment, Worawa has recognised the importance of addressing the health and wellbeing of students to enable them to focus on education. In 2011 the College introduced a strong focus on wellbeing commencing with the engagement of Maria Ruberto, Director Psychologist of Salutegenics.

This commenced a process where increasing understanding responses to anxiety in the brain and body were first explored with staff and how stress affects functioning and learning.

As an educational institution, it is the responsibility of every staff member to ensure that they “work to role”, and not “work to save”. Core to this is Protective Interruption: an action taken by an adult to purposefully interrupt a student disclosure or narrative around trauma whilst holding the student in care with supportive and empathic presence and safety.

Confidential Behaviours are safety measures employed by staff to ensure that student trauma or conflict is neither re-experienced nor transferred in a non-clinical space. This is protective against the re-experience for the student and vicarious trauma for staff. Hand-Over is the real-time support of a student who requires immediate intervention or co-regulation until the student can return to their place of learning. Whilst maintaining a duty of care, staff are required to remain “in-role” and not spill over into areas outside of their role. Spillover behaviour is reactive and does not develop student competency; it works against the model of wellbeing.

Hand-Back protects the integrity of the student’s grievance, as well as the integrity of the relationship from where the rupture has occurred. Adults lead the student back with support and respect to the concerned staff member. The student may decide if they can do this alone or with another staff member’s support. It is important that Hand-Back is managed in a timely manner and in the best interests of the student.

Over a period of a decade, Worawa has evolved its wellbeing hub where research and evidence-based practices have led staff training to create a community of practice that can lead young Aboriginal women into their adult lives and beyond.

The College is in discussions with a university for a research proposal based on the four essential circles that form The Worawa Model of Wellbeing framework. Each Circle describes an element of social-emotional functioning that is imperative to the wellbeing and resilience development of both staff and students. A research proposal would focus on a set of measures that would align with the four circles of wellbeing that might include:

  • Relationships – measuring social competencies and social strengths
  • Balance – measuring the ability to de-escalate, down-regulate and respond to co-regulation – levels of self-soothing
  • Consistency – measuring the ability for social communication to develop problem-solving ability and apply and follow a stepped-care process
  • Social/Emotional Core – measure emotional intelligence in all areas

The research project will align these measures with academic achievement in order to assess how wellbeing informs learning. In addition, the project will incorporate investigating levels of resilience as well as levels of assertive communication and bullying.

Girls Head Home

Our girls have left Worawa to return home to their communities. We wish them all a safe and happy journey and hope to see them again soon. The school term ended early due to the Coronavirus pandemic. At the time of publication Term 2 will commence on Monday 14 April.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) ADVICE

On Sunday 22 March, the Premier announced additional steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including bringing forward the school holidays in Victoria to commence from Tuesday 24 March. Worawa will provide updates to the College community relating to government decisions on schools’ operation.

Building Progress

We are pleased to announce that the new building is near completion. This building will replace the portable classrooms that were donated to the College in the early 90’s. In years since the portables have been used for a staff room as well as classrooms. The new building will house classrooms, teacher’s staff room and offices for the delivery of the College health, wellbeing and pastoral care programs. A landscaped garden plan that compliments existing gardens will be put in place during the break.

Civics and Citizenship

In Civics and Citizenship for our year 9 and 10 students this term we took the opportunity to use the recent events to discuss how the Australian Identity has changed over time. This includes taking into account the influence of media, our history, and changing perspectives. We shared images, poetry, media clips and news stories to highlight what it is that makes us Australian.

We considered stereotypes used around the world such as ‘Do we own pet kangaroos?’ and ‘Do we all eat Vegemite on toast?’ We considered how the wording of poetry creates imagery of our vast landscape with Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country’ and Hyllus Maris’ ‘Spiritual Song of the Aborigine.’

It was interesting to see the students react to advertising campaigns that were released prior to the fires for the British trying to understand ‘Brexit’ in December and how the tone of Australian tourism shifted to a recovery focus after the fires in January.

For our conclusion to the topic, we have started creating a timeline of people, places and events that have shaped our extended Worawa community over time. Each student has selected important moments of significance for them in Aboriginal history. Next term we are looking at the process currently underway for Treaty and the events that led up to Treaty becoming a priority amongst State governments.

‘Spiritual Song of the Aborigine’

I am a child of the Dreamtime People
Part of this Land, like the gnarled gumtree
I am the river softly singing
Chanting our songs on my way to the sea

My spirit is the dust-devils
Mirages, that dance on the plain
I’m the snow, the wind and the falling rain
I’m part of the rocks and the red desert earth

Red as the blood that flows in my veins
I am eagle, crow and snake that glides
Through the rain forest that clings to the mountainside
I awakened here when the earth was new

There was emu, wombat, kangaroo
No other man of a different hue
I am this land
And this land is me

I am Australia.

Hyllus Maris  1934-1986

The Worawa Economy and Maths

The term ended on a high with a Worawa Economy sale. Students had the chance to buy items such as books, jewellery, DVDs and activities to do at home. Throughout the term, students have been collecting Class Dojo points, which convert to Worawa Dollars for the sale. They earned points by showing positive behaviour and displaying the four key Worawa values of Relationship, Respect, Rigour and Responsibility. At other times, students lost points as a consequence for behaviour choices that have impacted negatively on them and other students. The Year 9 and 10 students practised their financial literacy and work place skills by acting as the shop assistants for the stalls. In groups, they considered how best to display their stock, set up their stall and to sell their items. In the midst of excited customers, they stayed calm and supported each other. The afternoon ended with the Year 9 & 10s calculating their stalls profits and taking the responsibility to pack up their stall. Thanks to the hard work of those students, the sale was a great success.

Times Table Self Help Guide

For the duration of Term 1, students have been working on Multiplication. As a topic for an article, it may not seem exciting or riveting. We didn’t go on any amazing excursion; we weren’t visited by any celebrity sport stars; we didn’t even get a T-Shirt. BUT…what the students have been learning, is that there are many ways to work out a problem by using what they already know. The students also learnt that there are two parts to working out a multiplication problem: The Calculation (that is the Times Table stuff) and the Process for using the Calculation (the Algorithm). The goal of this approach has been to make times tables accessible and achievable for all of our students. The motto for all of this has been, ‘Work Smarter and Not Harder’.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM)

This term in STEAM we focused on Physics in our Science lessons and started using Micro:bits in our 7/8 Technology class. Our 9/10 Technology Academy have begun applying the Design Thinking process to solve real world problems.

In our Physics focus we looked at forces and simple machines through an exploration of the Woomera (spear thrower). Our lessons were jam packed with practical activities including see saws and tug of war competitions to understand balanced and unbalanced forces. An experiment on ‘throwing style’ was carried out to look at direction of force and testing of the different lever classes to determine how levers help make work easier. We did not use actual spear throwers at school, instead replacing these with tennis ball throwers which could be used by all students, were safe and fun and worked on the same scientific principles as the spear thrower. Photographs and videos of these practical experiments have been uploaded to each student’s online Class Dojo accounts for them to look at and share with family and friends. (Michael photo of Woomera here P 8/9 of Eucalypt artefact book)

We continued our partnership with Melbourne University to run our 7/8 Technology class with each student receiving a ‘Micro:bit’. This is a pocket sized computer which students coded to spell out their name in lights, show a range of pictures, play scissors, paper, rock and many other digital activities.

Our Technology Academy was introduced to the Design Thinking process this term as a method for solving real world problems. The students focused on food for their introductory lessons using the process to develop their own healthy and delicious soft drink and to determine the best method for making jelly.

In Term 2 they’ll be applying the process to the development of wearable technologies.

Art News

It has been a great first term in Art this year. The students are progressing very well on their designs and or paintings and some of the returning students have completed pieces that they had not finished at the end of last year. The art room is once again full of works in progress and finished pieces. The creative energy within the art room is driving and inspiring all the students to not give up, keep trying and to do their very best. The proof of this is apparent when one enters the art room and is surrounded by the vast array of high quality student Art Work.

Caring for Country

This term during Caring for Country, years 7 and 8 have been focusing on the topic ‘Landforms and Landscapes.’ Students have engaged with the different types of landforms around Australia including Uluru, The Heart Reef, Katherine Gorge, The Three Sisters and Bungle Bungle.

Students have studied the different characteristics of Australian landscapes such as deserts, forests, rivers, coasts and built city environments, looking at the different plants, animals, people and pollution you may find there.

Additionally, students have reflected on, shared and noted the different personal values a landscape can hold relevant to their life and country, these values can include the emotional, historical and spiritual value of a landscape. (Michael use Dandenong Ranges image)

In years 9 and 10, students have been focusing on the unit ‘Biomes and Food Security’. This unit examines the biomes of the world, their need as a source of food and how humans change these environments to suit themselves.

Management solutions have been investigated as students research the means of Goat Aid, zero waste restaurants and the positives and negatives of increasing technology in farming. Students have practiced their data analysing and graph interpretation skills as they explore a chosen case study country to find out its levels of food security, population, economic status and potential reasons for why the country is in food insecurity or security.

Students display all of their gained knowledge on an informative infographic for other students.

First Term Special Afternoon Tea

In period six on Wednesday, 18th March we celebrated the successes of our top students with a special afternoon tea. We were pleased to have Aunty Lois as our special guest. After some words of encouragement from Aunty Lois, the girls’ choir entertained us with a beautiful song called ‘Never seen the rain’. Their music teacher, Sarah-Rose accompanied them on the piano. While we dined on cake and cups of tea, Miranda and Darnell played some pieces of music on the piano. The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We look forward to our next special afternoon tea with more students who have reached their Worawa goals of responsibility, rigour, relationships and respect.

Cultural Mentor

My name is Talia Gulpilil-Bryan, I am a proud Yolngu, Wemba-Wemba, Yorta-Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman. While working at Worawa with the girls I’ve been incredibly blessed to have made some great connections with the girls while teaching about weaving, cooking, yarning circles and ochre painting. The girls I have been lucky to work with, have shared the importance of their cultures and cultural practices. I’m looking forward to next term and continuing our shared love for our culture.

English Language

Students commenced the year recognising and honouring oral storytelling traditions, reflecting on their journey to Worawa: some for the first time, others returning to continue their educational journey. These stories were then recorded as students considered sentence and text structure and the use of descriptive language. Examining oral, visual and written persuasive texts, students explored how both as an individual and collectively they can use their voices and opinions to advocate for change on issues they connect with. Kombadik analysed Emma Watson’s “He For She” speech and considered the persuasive devices used to convey a powerful message. In response, they developed their own expositions linked to issues they felt strongly about. Other English classes looked at topics such as changing rules, the involvement of children in physical activity, the importance of learning how to cook and how to change the curriculum. Exploring how to consider both sides of an argument and identify and use a variety of persuasive devices when speaking and writing resulted in well informed and articulated opinions across the year levels.

During Term One students were also given the opportunity to select novels or texts that interested them and delve into these, either individually as or class groups. Titles selected included, Grace Beside Me, Cathy Freeman’s Born to Run, Wonder, Charlotte’s Web, Manga and beautiful pictures books that were often from students’ own communities.

It was wonderful to see students engage with the extensive literature selection available at Worawa. We are eagerly looking forward to the opening of our new library in Term 2 where students will continue to explore, expand and challenge their knowledge through written, visual and oral mediums.

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

Our 2020 VCAL students have started their year 11 and 12 programs successfully this term. Not only have they commenced Certificate II in Business, they have also been kicking goals in the maths program by showing great improvement in all skill areas. As part of their VCAL Projects they have been Finding Their Voice by studying the leadership styles and approaches of past and present Aboriginal leaders of social, environmental and land rights change. A highlight this term was attending the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee meeting (RAJAC) and seeing how a number of agencies and organisations work together to advocate and create change for Aboriginal communities. The students have also been learning a great deal about electronic presentation formats using websites and programs such as www.Canva.com

At year 11 and 12 it is vital that students find their voices and raise their voices in all aspects of their lives with confidence and certainty. Understanding their right to opinions and ideas about the world they live in and having the ability to express these ideas and opinions respectfully and with confidence is an important preparation for the next few steps in their lives and for a lifetime.

Sports Academy

The students in Sports Academy have been working hard on their fitness and health goals this term. They have spent the term participating in recreational activities as well as learning different ways to exercise and stay fit. In the gym they went through circuit and weight training and are on the way to earning their Sports Academy rugby tops. Last week students went to Healesville Lawn Bowls club and were taught by the members of the club the rules and techniques of the game. They really enjoyed the game and the strategy required to win. Understanding the importance of persistence and endurance as part of the rigour needed to be an athlete, coach or fitness instructor in the future has been an important value to develop.

Download Term 1 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Term 4 Newsletter 2019

Presentation Day

Presentation Day is the College’s premier event held annually at the end of the school year, a day when we celebrate the achievement of our students. On 11 December around 300 guests joined the school community to acknowledge and celebrate our students progression and success.

This year’s event was a particular celebration when we farewelled the College’s first Year 12 VCAL graduates; Rochelle Tipiloura, Tiara Douglas, Katelyn Woodhouse, Dorothea Tipiloura and Justine Ronberg. Board Chairman Tom Bell spoke about the significance of this occasion when he said: ‘It is with pride that we commend our first graduands of Senior VCAL 2019. Much more than a usual Senior VCAL, these students have completed a series of certificates and extra course work to prepare for the next step in their future. They have spent long months away from home, boarding here with us, working to create lives that will positively impact their communities and families. We are grateful to have family and community members here to celebrate with us today. It is certainly a time of great celebration as these young ladies are ‘First in Family’. These students can see that their effort, resilience and rigour have come to fruition. They have achieved a senior level of education and through their own effort, they have increased their choices and the opportunities open to them. While it seems an understatement, we would like to say ‘Well Done’ to this inaugural group of VCAL graduands.

Presentation Day 2019

The graduation of five girls with a Year 12 Victorian Certificate in Applied Learning (VCAL) was the highpoint of our Presentation Day as the College saw the first graduates of the VCAL program introduced into Worawa in 2018.

The day was imbued with culture, commencing with a ceremonial procession of the young women who attend Worawa, led by Cultural Leader, Aunty Zeta Thomson and Principal, Dr Lois Peeler AM.

The Welcome to Country by Aunty Zeta relayed aspects of Connection to Country and history of the iconic site on which the College is located.

Mandy Nicholson, respected leader of Wurundjeri all-female Djirri Djirri Cultural Services, addressed guests in Woiwurrung language providing interpretation of the dances performed and their particular relevance to Wurundjeri people.

Principal Dr Lois Peeler AM, reminded guests of the College Founder Hyllus Maris’ vision, “It was Hyllus’ vision that our young people receive an education that equipped them to capitalise upon any, and all opportunities life may present them, and to do so in the full and positive knowledge of who they are as Aboriginal people.”

A stirring keynote address was delivered by Nova Peris OAM who shared her personal experience and her Mother’s love, guidance and belief in education, which enabled Nova in her amazing career as an Olympian and being the first Indigenous woman in Federal Parliament.

The Worawa Cultural Group, led by Kyanna McIntosh from Galiwinku and Shania Ryan from Milingimbi performed the beautiful
Lungurrma dance.

Girls from the Australian Girl’s Choir joined the Worawa choral group to sing the College’s favourite song in Yorta Yorta language, Ngarra Burra Ferra.

A number of awards were presented to students in recognition of personal effort and achievement. The awards ceremony acknowledged student support by key partners who presented the students with an award in the category which they sponsored.

The presentation of VCAL certificates by the Principal to senior students was an emotional and joyous occasion topping off a wonderful day.

Representatives of organisations in which the College has a partnership, presented awards to students who were identified for outstanding leadership and performance in a range of areas. Included were:

  • Deloitte
  • University of Melbourne
  • Latrobe University
  • Swinburne University
  • RMIT University
  • Emeritus Professor Martin Comte OAM
  • Typecaste Entertainment
  • Healesville Sanctuary
  • Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Schiavello Ganbu
  • 22nd Engineer Regiment, Australian Army
  • The Holland Foundation
  • Koori Justice Unit, Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Children’s Court of Victoria
  • Commission for Children and Young People
  • Australian Defence Force Long Tan Award
  • Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Wadeye Family Celebrate Graduation

The Tipiloura family and friends from Wadeye Community in the Northern Territory, travelled to Worawa to celebrate the ‘first in family’ graduation of Rochelle and Dorothea Tipiloura.

Rochelle gave the Student Address where she introduced herself in her home language of Murrinh – patha and spoke of her years at the College and making the transition from her home community to Worawa. Rochelle was awarded the College’s premier award The Hyllus Maris Memorial Award.

Dorothea’s mother and father, Rosaria and Moses Tipiloura gave the Parent Response and spoke of the family’s pride in their girls’ graduation.

A large group of family and friends from Wadeye performed traditional dance in honour of Rochelle and Dorothea to celebrate their success.

Sports Academy

This term the Sports Academy completed the Indigenous Leadership Program with Priscilla Smith from Athletics Australia. Every Wednesday students undertook a theoretical and practical session on different aspects of leadership and coaching.

Sessions focused on communication, training beginner athletes, being a leader, making connections and team work. Students concluded the course by conducting the Grade 3 and 4 classes at Haileybury College in Keysborough. The students delivered a well thought out program for the junior school students, which included gathering and setting up equipment for the activities.

The goals of the Indigenous Leadership Program are to instill confidence and self-respect, promote resilience and create foundations for future leaders in communities. The students in Sports Academy delivered a planned program for the primary school students demonstrating the skills they have learned over the term and illustrating that they are growing as respectful, empathetic and responsible citizens.

Cultures Without Borders

Earlier this term students at Worawa were invited to participate in an exciting multi-cultural mural project coordinated by the Jewish charitable organisation, Courage to Care. The project meant that Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Aboriginal students aged 13-15 met on a Sunday in early December to work with the mural artist Peter Cto.

Students worked with youth leaders from all communities to share their ideas of what a culture without borders might look like and to discuss concepts of justice and equality.

They were also asked to consider how an Upstander might behave as opposed to a Bystander when oppression has been on the national or global agenda. Worawa students enjoyed working with other young people to formulate ideas and opinions.

After a vegetarian lunch, all 40 young people moved to the site of the mural and worked together to create a wall that represented their shared work and the concept of cultures without borders. It was an amazing opportunity for students to share culture, beliefs and shared values.

Studying Water and the Atmosphere

For our Term 4 STEAM lessons students have studied Earth and Space Sciences looking at the Water Cycle and the Atmosphere. To study the Water Cycle up close we worked in pairs to create terrariums. A terrarium is a sealed glass container within which plants are grown. Students were able to watch the water filter through the soil and become stored in the pebbles underneath. They also saw the evaporated water condense along the top of the terrarium and precipitate back down the glass walls or sometimes fall as large drops directly from the top of the terrarium. Terrarium building was a fun way to visualize the Water Cycle at work.

Our 7/8 Cumbungi class was lucky to further their study of water with a visit to a working science laboratory at Melbourne University. They used a range of equipment to determine the quality of various water samples. During their tests they determined the number of particles in each sample, the clarity of the sample and the PH level of the sample. They also used a powerful microscope to see if there were any living organisms in the samples. We were excited to discover the water coming out of the taps at Worawa has a higher level of purity than the water at Melbourne University. The Worawa teachers were also very pleased to scientifically prove that the water in the outdoor water fountains is exactly the same as the water in the ice machine in the dining room.

Caring for Country

This term during Caring for Country, years 7 and 8 have focused on the unit ‘Place and Liveability’. Students explored the interconnection between place, people and the environment. Students planned and created their own ‘mini city’ using recycling from around the School.

The numerous components which make up a place and contribute to its liveability were carefully placed within the diorama, as students considered the access to schools, hospitals, greenspaces, Dreaming spaces and street lights for safety. Students justified their ‘mini city’ model, explaining why they have chosen to include the components within it, as well as the placement of schools beside greenspaces allowing children safe and easy access to play.

In years 9 and 10, students continued with the unit ‘Geographies of Human Wellbeing’. Leading on from last term students investigated Global issues found amongst social development and spatial variations. Students explored programs designed to reduce the gap between these differences. Using the Global Sustainable Development Goals made by the United Nations, students researched the role of international and national initiatives designed to reduce inequalities. Case studies were drawn from Australia and other countries within Asia and Africa and Europe. Students researched, planned and created a debate, challenging the statement ‘The Global Goals are a Waste of Time’. The results were analysed and reflected upon in order to draw conclusions about the authenticity of the 2030 Goals.

Heywire Excursion

On Wednesday 27th of November, VCAL students ventured into the city to visit the ABC studios at Southbank where senior student Rochelle, a winner in the ABC Heywire Competition, could record her story titled ‘Police Women.’

The morning commenced with a tour around the ABC studios, where the students sat in the recording studio for both TV and radio. During the tours we met with lots of employees who gave us insightful information about careers in journalism, radio, television, media and about the amazing opportunities that arise from this particular sort of work.

The next part of the day saw us head up to the Triple J offices, where each student had the opportunity to record short snippets for the radio station. Students had lots of fun reading off the script, changing their expression and recording into a microphone. We look forward to hearing the Worawa girls on Triple J next year.

The final part of the day involved Rochelle recording her winning ABC Heywire piece. Sitting in a studio was something new for us all, but Rochelle read her story confidently and spoke with great pride. We can’t wait to see the final product and hear about Rochelle’s all-expenses paid trip to Canberra, at the beginning of 2020.

Download Term 4 Newsletter 2019

Presentation Day 2019

The 2019 school year is coming to its conclusion and we are preparing to celebrate the achievements of our students throughout the year. We invite you to join us in this celebration on our Presentation Day. Highlighting a special feature will be a musical item with Worawa and the Australian Girls Choir.

Following the Awards Ceremony guests may adjourn to the Sandra Bardas Gallery to view an exciting exhibition of Aboriginal fine art by our students and communities they come from. This event is not suitable for your young children.

When: 11 December 2019
Time: 11.00 am
Where: 60-80 Barak Lane, Healesville
RSVP By 4 December 2019

RSVP is essential. Guests must be seated by 10.50 am.

Keynote Speaker
Nova Peris OAM

Nova Peris OAM, Aboriginal activist, Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Hockey player, Olympian, Politician and Track and field athlete and staunch campaigner for Indigenous rights and Reconciliation.

A proud Aboriginal woman, Nova has traditional links with the Gidja People of East Kimberley, Yawuru People of West Kimberley and Muran People of West Arnhem land. Nova is one of a very few athletes who have represented their country in two different sports at separate Olympic Games.

As part of the Australian women’s hockey team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Nova was the first Aboriginal Australian to win an Olympic gold medal. She later switched to athletics and contested the 1998 Commonwealth Games where she won two gold medals; one for the 200m and another for the 4x100m relay. Nova also competed at the Sydney Olympics; she reached the semi-finals of the 400m and was also a member of the 4x400m relay team.

Throughout her career, Nova has been the recipient of a number of awards and honours. In 1997 she was awarded both the Young Australian of the Year award and the Order of Australia ‘for service to sport as a gold medallist in the Atlanta Olympic Games, 1996’. She was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in June 2000.

Nova served in the Australian Senate from November 2013 until May 2016. She was the first Indigenous woman to serve in Federal Parliament.



RSVP is now closed. Please contact Nicki Bosen (registrar@worawa.vic.edu.au) directly for late RSVPs.

Event Details

11 December 2019

11.00 am

60-80 Barak Lane, Healesville

4 December 2019

Worawa Term 3 Newsletter 2019

Newsletter Term 3, 2019 - Download PDF

Strong Girl – Balit Liwurruk

After a year of preparation, the VCAL students and three Year 10 students worked with St Martin’s Youth Theatre to produce an amazing performance entitled Strong Girl – Balit Liwurruk. The performance is about a rite of passage from girl to woman.

It is the story of 12 girls who turn the classic myth of Hercules inside out stating their own strengths as young women through the telling of their stories about personal tests of strength. It is also about the connection the girls feel to Country and the depth of this connection in shaping who they are and how grounded they feel.

Strong Girl – Balit Liwurruk

It was an incredibly powerful performance that took intense commitment to the process and the ability to work with industry professionals. From the performance and its process, students who were lacking in confidence have come to shine and to find their voice. There is a greater sense of confidence in the group and a clearer sense of purpose and meaning in that which they do. By completing the project, students participating achieved a number of VCAL course outcomes in the areas of Oral Communication, Reading and Writing as well as Personal Development Skills. It was a demonstration of how important applied learning that connects our students with their community is as they make their way in the world and life after secondary school.

Here are two quotes from the performance.

“A girl’s strength is hard to describe. The impossible task is holding the sky up on your shoulders. No one can take my sky, my tree and my red earth from me.”
– Katelyn

“It’s like you’re holding something really old but when you carry the language, you’re carrying the land and you’re carrying the people with you. No matter how much time goes by, it’s still going to be there, inside of us. Nobody knows what’s inside of us but us.
– Mary Cruz

Sports Academy

This term Sports Academy completed the Indigenous Leadership Program with Priscilla Smith from Athletics Australia. Every Wednesday students undertook a theoretical and practical session on different aspects of leadership and coaching. Sessions focused on communication, training beginner athletes, being a leader, making connections and teamwork. Students concluded the course by conducting the Grade 3 and 4 physical education classes at Haileybury College in Keysborough. The students delivered a well thought out program for the junior school students, which included gathering and setting up equipment for the activities.

Sports Academy

The goals of the Indigenous Leadership Program are to instil confidence and self-respect, promote resilience and create foundations for future leaders in communities. The students in Sports Academy delivered a planned program for the primary school students demonstrating the skills they learned over the term proving that they were becoming respectful, empathetic and responsible citizens.

Worawa Kookaburras are Premiers

Worawa KookaburrasTo finish the winter season of basketball our U17’s Kookaburras played an outstanding game against the Collingwood All Stars. They all played with great teamwork, making use of each other and playing to their strengths. The game was head to head the whole time, keeping us all on the edge of our seats.

In the end, the girls proved they were the greater team and were able to hold their position in front winning the game 34 to 26. Lizzie’s was named most valuable player for the game, her natural skill and ability to drive the ball down the court with speed and agility was brilliant to watch and she scored a sensational 3 pointer. We’re all so proud of all the girls for all their efforts this season and grateful to our brilliant coach of four years Andrew Ermel.

Data and Maths

In Mathematics during Term Three, the students in Years Seven and Eight have been learning about data by way of investigating fun-size packets of Smarties. Each student gathered two sets of data and was required to record their data in the format of a table, as well as representing their data as a graph. Eating the ‘data’ was the fun part.

Data and Maths

Having collected two sets of data, the students were asked to write statements based on the comparisons of their data sets. They were able to compare the number of Smarties from their first packet to their second packet and were able to identify which packet had more in them, and the difference in the distribution of the colours.

We had a range of questions: Are fun-sized Smarties packets fair? Do they have an even distribution of colours? Are there any colours that are more common? Are there any colours that were the least common? We needed to combine all of our data to find the answers. To do this, students extended their IT skills and loaded their data onto a Spreadsheet. Now we could easily see the answers to our question.

This is what we discovered:

  • The average number of Smarties in a box is 13. This meant that some boxes had 11, while others had 14. It was decided that this is not fair.
  • The most common colour in Smarties packets is purple.
  • The least common colour is brown.
  • The highest number of any one colour was five, while there were several times when a colour was completely absent.

We also learnt that one packet by itself did not give us enough information to answer our questions, we needed more in order to answer our questions factually.

Maths and Numeracy

This term, as part of an intense program preparing students for the last two years of high school, the Year 10 students have been studying and practising skills of working in a shop. In the Worawa Economy system that runs throughout the school, the students earn Worawa Dollars which can be used to buy real objects from a quarterly catalogue or in the sales held twice a term. The Year 10 students have stepped up and single-handedly ran the first sale of this term. In pairs, the students arranged their merchandise for their set table, assisted other students with their choices through giving recommendations and successfully calculated the transactions. Notably, the students remained calm and confident throughout the sale, despite the excitement of the other students and any challenges presented to them.

Over the weeks following the sale, the students discussed what worked well at their set table and any possible improvements to be made for the sale at the end of the term. As part of this, they created a written proposal of recommendations including explanations and reasons for opinions. The Year 10 students have been excited to take responsibility for their table and to be involved in the planning of what the students can buy.

‘Drawing from Within’

Manipulating & Applying Art Elements and Concepts

Drawing from WithinStudents in Art experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques, including exploration of techniques used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent a theme, concept or idea in their artwork. Students develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through the exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes.

In Art this term, students developed ways to manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and represent their own artistic intentions. We focused on developing design drawings to be the starting point for large-scale paintings to be completed throughout the term. The students were introduced to many techniques and processes using mixed media including drawing inks, paints, ink pens, paint pens and calligraphy nib pens to consider, apply and incorporate into their design and their painting. Once the design drawing was completed, we then explored a range of techniques to create interesting abstract backgrounds, focusing on how colour can and does convey feelings, moods, emotions and more.

The environment within the Art Room/Studio is one of engagement, creativity, focus, expression, colour and success. The quality of the work being produced is excellent. It is creative, expressive and contemporary, whilst still incorporating traditional and personal symbolism, personal stories, imagination, design, and artistic expression. The end of the year Annual Student Art exhibition for 2019 is going to be an Exhibition not to be missed.

Civics and Citizenship

This term in Kombadik and Baggup we have focused on how laws are made in Australia and around the world. We explored the process of a Bill becoming a Law. One of our other topics was Restorative Practice. This is a process that we use at Worawa that is also used in the justice system. Restorative practice allows all perspectives of an event or incident to be heard and considered before coming up with a plan that all persons involved agree to and work towards repairing the relationship or situation that occurred.

Other topics we explored include the levels of government in relation to the laws they control and services provided. We also looked at how modern technology is impacting laws regarding privacy, where data about people is kept and how it is stored, protecting consumers, laws regarding home ownership and rental properties and our rights and responsibilities as citizens in the broader community.


This term in English our unit focus was autobiographies and biographies, where skill development has been taught in context. Throughout the term Fluency has been completed daily at the start of each lesson and spelling was a weekly activity, where students focused on a set group of words to help expand their vocabulary and use of words in their writing.

Each week students have focused on a significant Aboriginal person, where we have completed aspects of the Reading to Learn Accelerated Literacy Program, participated in group activities and practised speaking in front of the class. The students’ individual research project saw them selecting a person from the Worawa History Walk or another Aboriginal person who they were passionate about researching. At the completion of this project, students presented their work to the rest of the class, which was a great way to conclude our autobiography and biography unit.

Marngo Design Futures ‘Fasheaming’ with Lyn-Al Young

Marngo DesignThis term 11 students participated in the Marngo Design Futures ‘Fasheaming’ Project with emerging fashion designer Lyn-Al Young. Lyn-Al is a proud Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta woman who imbues her designs with personal symbolism, stories and goals influenced by her dreaming. Lyn-Al introduced the students to the use of art and design to visualise goals and develop personal empowerment.

During the 2 day project, the students created silk bandanas representing current goals they are striving towards, created empowering personal digital posters using ProCreate on iPads and jewellery reflecting their Aboriginal heritage. The project culminated in a fashion show and photoshoot where the students displayed their silks and jewellery to one another. It was an inspiring, creative and incredibly fun project and we all look forward to collaborating with Lyn-Al in the future.

Community Services Certificate II Studies at Worawa

This year the VCAL students have been studying for a Certificate II in Community Services. The students have been focusing on studies involving Work Place Health and Safety, First Point of Contact, and Communication in the Health and Services Sectors. Class time has allowed us to discuss various aspects involved in keeping a workplace safe for everyone. We have paid attention to the rights and responsibilities of the employer and every employee regarding health and safety in the workplace.

It is imperative the girls are aware of this legislation, to keep themselves safe at work. They enjoyed being part of two mock Work Place Health and Safety Meetings, where they, each as a representative of their work area, had to bring a safety/health issue to the table to be discussed. The girls now realize how something as trivial as a rip in the carpet or a dangling power cord can be hazardous.

As part of our communication subjects, we have spoken about the importance of preparation for a job interview and how to present themselves in the best possible way. Part of our discussions involved hygiene, formal business clothing, the correct language to use, the importance of eye contact and body language as well as a firm handshake and a beautiful smile. With a little research about the company concerned and a few questions to ask, they will go into the interview confident and looking good.

Respect is one topic we keep coming back to. The girls are learning no matter where you are from or who you are, we should all be treated with respect. In community service environments the girls will be helping and working with people from all walks of life with varying ages, abilities, different places of birth, cultures and language groups. It is one of life’s great lessons to treat others as you would like to be treated.

Next term as we finish off our studies, the girls will be refreshing their First Aid skills and considering the relevance of cultural safety in the workplace.

We have had three great terms and it will be exciting to see the girls presented with their certificates at the end of the course.

Caring for Country

This term during Caring for Country, students have been focusing on the units ‘People and Places’ and ‘Geographies of Human Wellbeing’. In year 7-8, students research and plot data from their countries and communities into a range of maps and graphs, gaining the ability to compare and contrast. Students draw conclusions on the spatial size of areas, the difference in populations, distances from major cities and journeys taken to goods and services. Additionally, students have begun to increase their global knowledge exploring features of neighbouring countries such as India, China, Japan and Indonesia.

Caring for Country

In the year 9-10 Caring for Country program, students have been focusing on challenging global perceptions. Using evidence to form opinions, students access world statistics such as the Human Development Index, Bhutan’s National Happiness Scale, life expectancy, income, gross domestic product, and mean years of schooling. Students have created a report titled ‘Geographies of Human Wellbeing Evidence Report’, where they have reported on their own perception of what deems human wellbeing, the spatial variation between two of their chosen indicators and the perceptions of social development. Students use evidence and examples for every opinion.

Students have also focused on ‘recording information about Country’ and interpreting information’. Students have researched information including distributions of plants, water sources, Aboriginal historical and sacred sites and different climate zones. Students have made connections between the different sets of data in order to find trends and draw conclusions. Additionally, students have collected data on different plant species found on the Dreaming Trail located on School grounds. Students have sequenced the information in order to inform others of the traditional plants and their uses.

The interest and career aspirations of students has been researched as students investigate what they may like to take after school as well as how they may get there. Students have explored what it means to be a ranger in terms of employment responsibilities and duties as well as the cultural importance of Caring for Country.

Download Term 3 Newsletter 2019

Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2019

Term 2 Newsletter 2019

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).

Reconciliation Sports Carnival

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

Steam Technology Academy Student Camp Fire

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.

Camp Jungai

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.

Camp Jungai Rafting

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.

Rangers Academy

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.


2019 AFL Umpiring Academy

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.

Dental Van

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 Report

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.

Boarding Report 2019

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.

Arts at Worawa

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.

History Walk Book

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.



Download Term 2 Newsletter 2019

Worawa Term 1 Newsletter 2019

WOR19004 Term1 Newsletter 2019

On the final day of Term, the College hosted a Culture Day which brought together staff, students, community Elders, school governors, Hawthorn Football Club representatives, Indigenous Basketball representatives, family chaperones and members of the Worawa Advisory Committee.

Students were fully involved in preparations for the day supported by teaching staff. They took charge of making damper, baked kangaroo tail, kangaroo stew, chilli crab, baked fish and preparing favourite bush foods for cooking on the outside fire pit.

The day commenced with a Smoking Ceremony and walk through the Dreaming Trail. We had the special privilege of hearing Uncle Herb Patten play the gum leaf, Yolngu students performed traditional dance, the school choir sang songs in the language. All enjoyed a truly great feast and relaxed social exchange.


Culture Day - Snapshots from our final day of term.
Culture Day – Snapshots from our final day of term.


This year we have our first 5, year 12 VCAL students at Worawa as well as 7 year 11 students. Students are working on a number of key projects that are both practical and research-based. Practical projects include self-defence and resilience with Barkinji Warrior Shantelle Thompson as well as visual arts and performing arts projects.


All VCAL students are working with the prestigious St Martin’s Youth Theatre to develop a performance for Term 3. All projects are aimed at developing confidence and employability skills such as communication and time management.

The research projects are self-paced at each year level with reducing levels of teacher support as students move towards year 12 graduation, interdependent living and study. Students have also been learning about paying bills, developing budgets and the dangers of credit cards. This Term students have also been studying for their learner permit now that they have completed another round of METEC driver education.

They have also attended barista training at William Angliss and year 12 students have commenced vocational study in the area of Community Services. Business is again the VET focus for year 11. These two programs were chosen for the generalist skills they offer and value add to the lives of the young women in the VCAL program. In terms of value-add vocational training, VCAL students also completed first aid, food handlers and have prepared AFL Umpire Training in Term 2.

Some VCAL students attended a Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee meeting and were inspired by the sort of work being done in the community because of the collaboration between Government agencies and Aboriginal community organisations. It was incredibly inspiring to those who attended and has confirmed career choices for these students.

Next Term year 12 students will be making very solid plans for their lives beyond school. This includes university and TAFE applications and attendance at information sessions as well as finding out more about accommodation and income options for independent living. They have already overcome the huge challenge of studying away from home so are at an advantage.


Every student hopes that bullying won’t happen to them or to someone they know, so the focus this Term was on bullying. The students at Worawa have the power to make a positive impact by recognising bullying behaviour and understanding the impact bullying has on their peers. They learned how they can be a positive active bystander when they witness bullying occurring. The whole school participated in the National Day Against Violence and Bullying on March 15th with the Year 9 and 10 students doing a presentation on Bullying at Assembly, including a movie they made on how to be an “upstander”.

Sports Academy

This Term the students in Sports Academy participated in a variety of recreational activities around the local Healesville area. During the first part of the Term, they went to the Healesville Lawn Bowling Club. They received instruction from the experienced members of the club. The girls showed natural talent in the sport and enjoyed participating in sports enjoyed at any age or level. In the second part of the Term, the students participated in water aerobics at the RACV Country Club. Water aerobics incorporates aerobics and resistance training in the water making it a great way to stay fit without putting stress on the body. At school, they participated in badminton and volleyball, as well as fitness training and yoga.

English / Literacy

We are so pleased with the learning journey of each of our students during Term 1. Each day in class students have been encouraged to develop their reading and comprehension skills as well as borrowing books from the library to read in their spare time.

Students have been practising appropriate spelling words, which link in with their class text, to extend their vocabulary. Each student has produced an instructional piece, where they were encouraged to include the essential features of this genre of writing.

Kombadik and Baggup have completed a detailed study on The Burnt Stick, where the novel follows the journey of a young boy who was part of the Stolen Generation. Students have focused on skill development in a number of areas of literacy.

Cumbungi and Murnong have focused on the novel The Eagle Inside. This book explores the feelings about facing new experiences, challenges and friendships when in a new environment.

Cumbungi have worked on furthering their literacy skills through the study of compound words, verbs and a written response to the class text.

Murnong has taken steps forward in their literacy, focusing on their individual reading level and applying new skills learned. Next Term the students will be undertaking the NAPLAN assessment, where we have begun preparation for the formal testing environment, providing students with as much support as we can.

Mathematics / Steam


In Mathematics and STEAM this Term, students were challenged to take responsibility for their learning as they participated in the projects Worawa Economy and Café Cart.

The Worawa Economy presented a mock economy system through which students developed financial literacy. Students applied for and received classroom jobs, which they completed independently. Upon completion of their jobs, students received a monthly salary of Worawa Money and a bonus when they exceeded expectations.

Students were also accountable for paying bills and fines. Twice in the Term, students had the opportunity to spend their remaining Worawa money at the auction and sales. Through the Worawa Economy, students have grown in confidence and autonomy, stepping up in their jobs and running the two auctions on their own.

In the Café Cart project, students explored the many facets involved in developing and working in a café, in preparation for running their own pop-up café later in the semester.

This project integrated learning from a range of curriculums, including mathematics, science, design and digital technologies as well as vocational skills in Food Handling.

Through the Café Cart project, students have gained a deeper understanding of how to solve real-world problems and integrate knowledge and skills from a range of learning areas. The Term concluded in an exciting set of classes with the students thoughtfully designing their own spin on the ‘Toastie’, creating the recipe, prototyping and trialling each other’s creative inventions.

Molly and ‘The Worawa Way’

The “Worawa Way” model is a holistic approach to education integrating education, culture and wellbeing. Teaching staff work closely with wellbeing and boarding staff to provide a seamless transition for students each day, between the boarding house and the academic program. This continuity of care results in productive relationships between students, teachers, well-being and boarding house teams.

Molly our Therapy dog, has an essential role in supporting students across the spectrum of College operations through spending time in the classroom, well-being room and in the boarding house. Students experience unconditional love from Molly.

Students transitioning into the College have an immediate friend in Molly, her friendly, energetic demeanour helps new students feel welcomed immediately. New students will often be asked if they would like Molly to sit with them to help orient them to the classroom.

Whilst with the Pastoral Care Worker in the Well-Being room, students are encouraged to pat, talk or even groom Molly as a method of helping the student to self-regulate. This helps the student relax and talk more easily with the Pastoral Care Worker about their worries. Sometimes students are very distraught and Molly will lay near them or rest her head on their feet in an effort to soothe the student by helping to reduce their anxiety. Molly is a good listener and students often read to her.

Molly is a real friend and students will often ask to walk Molly as a way of ‘reflective time’ away from others. Other students take pleasure in walking Molly with one of her handlers, Rosalina, which helps them feel like they are back home. Students will often talk of their pets they have left back home. This can encourage them with their attachment to their housemates and house parents by feeling more “homely” as well as teaching the students how to care for Molly.

Molly will often entertain the students at morning ‘Circle Gathering’ with her toy chasing abilities and may appear just like any other dog, however, she is not. Molly works hard at calming students down with her presence but also making the students aware of how their behaviour can affect others. Students will often quieten down if they are advised they are upsetting Molly.

Molly has learned the Worawa Way and helps students to practice respect, responsibility, relationship – rigour however, is a work in progress.



Download Term 1 Newsletter 2019

Worawa Term 4 Newsletter 2018

We are proud that Worawa is the only Aboriginal owned and governed school in Victoria, and, the only boarding school in the whole of Australia that caters specifically for Aboriginal girls.

And as such it has a unique place in Indigenous Education. Worawa is a place of learning – a place where we can not only learn, but also celebrate our culture and practice our Aboriginal Ways of Knowing, Doing and Being.

At Worawa we embrace the diversity of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We honour the rich cultural traditions, the languages, the art and the experiences of our Indigenous communities across the country.

On Presentation Day we celebrate the achievements of our students who come from communities across the country. We are delighted that a former student returned to share her story and we heard from a current student and a parent.


Presentation Day 2018

Presentation Day 2018 was an amazing day to celebrate the achievements of our student’s over, not only this year, but throughout their time at Worawa and beyond. We were privileged to have Her Excellency, The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and Mr Anthony Howard QC join us in our celebration. Read the inspirational Keynote Address delivered by former student Narelle Urquhart, the 2018 Student Speech by Ms Katelyn Woodhouse and Parent Response by Ms Melissa Bin Busu and view accompanying images. We thank you for your support.


Keynote Speaker – Narelle Urquhart

Your Excellency, Mr Howard, Elders & Distinguished Guests, Aunty Lois, students, Friends. It is a pleasure to be here today.

Can l begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians on whose land we are gathered and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

I am pleased to be here today to share my story with you. I am a proud Wiradjuri woman born 1971 Leeton NSW. I also have Scottish heritage of which l am also proud of. (The Urquhart clan is where the Loch Ness monster is supposed to be) Two amazing Clans from opposite sides of the world!

Although l was born on our traditional country l did not grow up there. My mother was a part of the Stolen Generation and at the age of 11 years, was sent to Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home operated by the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board to provide training for girls forcibly taken from their families under the Aborigines Protection Act. She was sent with her two baby sisters and her brothers were sent to Kinchella Aboriginal Boys Training Home, for boys between the ages of 5 and 15… until they were old enough to be sent out to work.

Narelle Urquhart

At Cootamundra, my mother was trained as a domestic servant and at 14 years of age was sent out to ‘service’ to a white family in Canberra until she was ‘released from service’ at the age of eighteen. She returned to Leeton and married my father.

When l was 4 years old my parents decided to separate and through this process, my 5 siblings and I were placed in a Catholic Nunnery in Kincumber, Gosford. We were there for just over two years which was quite a traumatic time.

When I was around 6 years old my father took us and fled to Victoria, we lived in quite poor conditions and was given a home and welfare workers in Kerang. We later moved to Robinvale on the Murray River where there was a lot of seasonal work.

Throughout our childhood we always had a welfare worker, they would check if our house was clean, that we had food and that we attended school. Throughout my young years, we were often in and out of foster care.

When I was 13 years old l left school without ever having completed a full year of high school. I believed l didn’t need an education because l was only ever going to be a fruit picker.

I subsequently l left home at 14 years of age.

From this time on I was on and off the streets. In one of those times l was found by the authorities and sent down here to Worawa College, l had just turned 15.

I remember my time here, all be it short, because of the amazing principle. She was a beautiful Aboriginal lady who was proud of herself, knew who she was and had accomplished so much, she had an air of excellence, something that l had not seen before in what was my tragic circumstances. I will always remember her and not only for her beauty but more importantly the strength in which she carried herself.

After my time here at Worawa, l went back to my hometown and had a baby which tragically died before l gave birth. This was a devastating time. At the age of 16 and alone, l had to have a funeral and go through the grieving period as a young person that was still living ruff.

After this time l decided to move to Canberra to connect with my mother, although l had met her when l was 14 l felt it was time to really know her.

She was an amazing woman who had fought hard for us as a people, she was an artist, a poet and an activist.

I lived in Queanbeyan and Canberra for 12 years and had my three daughters there. Whilst living there I couldn’t get a decent job, so I went to TAFE and completed Years 11 and 12, in which I received an award for 1st in a math’s exam.

Fast forward to now. I am a mother of 4, my children are 27, 25, 22 and 16. I have lived on the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers for nearly 20 years.

I currently work at Bond University as the Indigenous Cultural Support Officer. A position that l have held for 6 years. Not only do l work full time but l also have two businesses and am about to recommence my study in Law. I have raised my children as a single mum, and they have been my greatest achievement.

Two of my daughters are graduates of Bond University.

Sinead studied a Bachelor of International Relations followed by her Masters, she went on to work at the Department of Defense in Canberra for three years and has just moved back Brisbane to work and start a family.

My second daughter Jessica studied a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Counseling. She took a position with the Attorney General’s Department in Canberra and has recently returned home to get married and take a position with the CSIRO.

My third daughter Katrina is married and works at Pacific Hope Christian school with her husband assisting with autistic children and hopes to become a missionary.

My son Malachi who is 16 is currently being homeschooled and wants to study Film and Television at Bond University.

In saying all this, although l have had a tough background, and l have had to overcome so much, having key people and moments in my life have helped to shape who l am.

It has given me courage, hope and empathy to walk out an amazing life as an Indigenous woman who hopefully can inspire young people just as Aunty and Worawa have and continues to inspire me. It is my hope that Australia will grow into a unified nation with the knowledge and blessings of First Nations People.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to ‘find myself’ at Worawa Aboriginal College and, as with many past students, it has been a significant time in the lives of many.

A place that nurtured the identity of each student and empowered them to rise above the challenges in their lives.

To feel the positivity of being a person of Aboriginal heritage and taking deep pride in knowing that you belong to the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

To have the knowledge, pride and confidence to hand that knowledge down to your children and being able to Walk in Both Worlds.

Student Presentation Day Speech – Katelyn Woodhouse

Your Excellency, Mr Howard, Dr Lois Peeler, guests, teachers and students.

I want to start by acknowledging the Wurundjeri people, the original custodians of the land which we meet on. I want to pay my respects to their elders past, present and future.

My name is Katelyn Woodhouse I’m a year 11 student here at Worawa, this is my first year at the school and of VCAL. I come from a small town called Halls Creek that’s located in the North of Western Australia. I have five older brothers and a six-year-old foster sister. My family is the most important part of my life. I’m a part of the Kimberley and the Deserts. My language groups are Jaru from my dad’s side and Kija from my mum’s side.

I chose to leave home hoping to improve my education, find out more about myself and test what independent living was like. I thought being away from home for a long period of time would get easier the longer I was away, but over time it seemed to just get harder and harder. I felt as if I was missing out on everything like I was drifting away from my family and I even started to believe it. Trying to avoid the way I felt I shut everything out. I tried to deal with things by talking less, not calling home and kept my feelings bottled up hoping they would just disappear. But that wasn’t until I realised that maybe I was doing it all wrong and taking things for granted. Expressing how I felt and getting involved made me realise that this is the place I want to learn and finish my education. Now Worawa has become my second home.

I could literally make a list of things that I’ve had the opportunity to do here at Worawa but it’d just be too long, so I will tell you the ones that really stand out to me. I and other students got to be a part of an Aboriginal flag raising event at the Government House where we sang Ngarra Burra Ferra, toured some of the grand rooms and ate delicious food. I was a part of the Pathways to Womanhood Program where I learnt how to take care of myself, table manners, boosted my self-esteem and so much more. I and others then celebrated our achievements at the debutant dreaming ball. I even had the opportunity to umpire on an AusKick game at halftime on the MCG during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round ‘Dreamtime at the G’. There were so many smiles, that experience is going to be for a long time and one I won’t forget.

This year was the first year that Worawa has had VCAL and being a part of it has been great. I have really enjoyed VCAL as it has given so many opportunities and has taught me so much. It has really expanded my view of what I can achieve. The program has allowed me to grow so much and find myself along the way. I have done barista training, participated in university excursions, attended a case in the Koori Court, did driving lessons at METEC, worked with Ranges Tech and completed my Cert II in Business. I have also done work experience in the gym at the Healesville RACV Country Club where I learnt how they ran the gym, joined in with sessions and how to make a program that fits the customer’s needs. I was also a sports teacher’s aide at the Badger Creek Primary school.

My overall experience of Worawa has been great. I’ve learnt so much – most importantly I’ve allowed myself to grow. I am so grateful for how much support the school offers and all of the opportunities. The girls are amazing people, when I first attended the school I felt so welcomed and I made instant friends that are going to last a lifetime. It’s amazing how we all come from different parts of Australia and unite together as one in a community where we’re exposed to many opportunities, share culture, focusing on our education and making pathways for our future.

The sports Worawa offers is not only a great way to be involved and stay active but is sort of a distraction from home that helps the days go by quicker as it keeps you busy. The staff being teachers, house parents and others are a great support, they have helped many of us get through the year.

I plan to attend the University of Western Australia located in Perth after I graduate and study anything to do with sports. I want to become a personal trainer or a sports teacher, but the law has caught my eye as I want to be involved with Indigenous affairs. I want to be able to help my people but who knows what the future holds for me. As long as I have some sort of idea everything should work out fine. For those girls who feel as if they’re finding it rough or that they don’t want to be here, remember the sacrifices you’re making being away from home. You’re getting a better education, making something of yourself and making your family proud – they make the stay so worth it. It shows you that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. The best way to predict your future is to create it. Be the creator of your own future, follow your dreams and focus on your education. As Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Be the one to make that Change.

Parent Response Presentation Day – Ms Melissa Bin Busu

Your Excellency, Mr Howard, Elders & Distinguished Guests, Aunty Lois, students, Friends – Good morning.

First I would like to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional owners of this land, the Wurundjeri People and Elders, past present & future.

My name is Melissa Bin Busu a proud Kija woman from Halls Creek in Western Australia, which is on the edge on the Tanami & Great Sandy Deserts, it has a population of about 1600 people. The majority of the people living there are mostly of Aboriginal descent. It is a lovely little town , rich in history of gold, beautiful landscapes , old timers, cattlemen, horsemen and fresh water springs which never run dry, but like many other small community towns in the Kimberly, it has its problems dealing with social issue like domestic violence, alcohol/drug abuse, crime, homelessness where some people still today live in third world conditions , living conditions are appalling , no running water or electricity those who are lucky enough to live in houses have sewerage problems, homes are overcrowded and falling apart, and people have to wait months for repairs, no access to trained health professionals to deal with youth issues, councillors, dentist, renal specialist for example live in the bigger towns and can only visit once every three months, health issues where children and families have no access to fresh food.

On a lighter note, I am honoured and feel very privileged to speak to you all today on this special occasion as a proud parent of a student. My daughter, Katelyn Woodhouse, whom I’m very proud of as I’ve seen her grow and mature into a beautiful young woman, she has shown me she can adapt to her surroundings and take on different and new challenges, in order to be here, she has overcome some very difficult challenges & changes in her life – dealing with bullying, verbal abuse and peer pressure in her previous schools.

Changes of traveling a long distance to be here, dealing with homesickness, missing her family, missing sorry business times, birthdays and milestones. School rules, boarding house rules, the weather, her diet, sleep patterns, due to Melbourne’s time difference to ours in Western Australia. I’m very proud to say Katelyn wants to be a leader & role model for her family, friends and countrymen.

The main reasons I chose to send Katelyn to Worawa for her last years of education is because I liked the idea of the two way of learning Worawa offers which gives Katelyn the best of both worlds, doing the Australian curriculum and how it takes into account Aboriginal culture, values, spiritual beliefs and learning styles which I strongly believe should be taught in all schools to benefit our Indigenous children. I basically wanted Katelyn to see there is life beyond Halls Creek and I felt Worawa would provide more opportunities, not just in normal everyday education, but in a way that would expose Katelyn to new challenges that could help her to grow, experience and further her education. I would like to thank Worawa and the staff for giving Katelyn the opportunity to do so. I would like to say to you, Katelyn that I love you and want you to know how proud I am of you and the sacrifices you made to be here. I’ll be with you every step of the way in any decisions or choices you make regarding your higher education and life.

I am pleased to know that Worawa provides accommodation in a safe, caring, nurturing environment, where opportunities for art, sport, recreation, & self-development are supported. Also I like that Worawa has guest speakers, role models, Aboriginal Elders from different organisations, sporting groups and communities who come to the school to talk about their personal journey and achievements, to motivate the students that their dreams are special no matter how big or small, teach them about the country, and all it has to offer and to teach them to be strong independent woman and leaders in their communities and homes, inspire them to believe anything is possible and encourage all the students to follow their dreams.

Lastly I would like to say to all the students of Worawa, education is the way to gain knowledge and understanding for our people, to empower yourself and them. To talk up and be strong role models for your towns and communities I know some of you may not think so now, but it’s the only way for all of us to move forward for generations to come. Believe in yourself, dream big, and strive for the best you can be. Always remember to be proud of who you are and be proud of where you come from, and just be thankful, as you all have been given a massive opportunity others wish they had. Thank you.

English / Literacy

This term has seen students achieve some spectacular improvements in Literacy. Supported by the teachers across all Curriculum areas and our wonderful Aides, Vicky and Grace, we have seen individual students leap 10 or more levels in the PM Reading Benchmarks.

The girls have been continuing to read many different texts and experimenting successfully with a variety of writing styles in their own pieces. We are sharing just two examples of student work, the result of careful planning and perfecting to produce very thoughtful and moving final pieces.

Bringing Them Home and the Stolen Generations

by Paris Carpio

Bringing Them Home was the name given to the final report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Between 1910 and 1970 many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families and country as a result of various government policies. This became known as the Stolen Generations. The children were taken away because the government believed that they didn’t have a future and would be better off learning the white ways. Often they were forced to stop speaking language and reject their Indigenous heritage.

In my opinion, this was not fair at all, my father and his siblings were removed from their family and sent to the Moore River Native Settlement, my aunty was abused whilst in their care. Children were supposedly taken away because they would have a better life but the only thing that came out of it was grief for the families and children and a loss of knowledge for their culture. Many children were psychologically, physically, and sexually abused while living in state care or with adoptive families. Medical experts have noted a high incidence of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and suicide among the Stolen Generations.

Studies have shown that the number of Indigenous children in out-of-home care has doubled in the decade since the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations, I believe the government is still failing Indigenous families. The children of the Stolen Generations deserve to be recognized everywhere; people need to know about the past and the pain that was caused to our people. No one should ever have to go through that, no matter what race or skin color. I believe some people may not realize it wasn’t that long ago. No child should be taken away from their family.

Teenage Days

by Jessica Byford

We aren’t prepared somedays,
We get scared somedays,
We get stuck somedays,
We get lost somedays,
We seek help somedays,
We want to yell somedays,
We are queens somedays,
We can be mean somedays,
These are just our teenage days,
We all have faults,
We all have goals,
We all have stories that are untold,
We are all young, sometimes play dumb,
We are very different but very same,
When we hit our teenage days,
Our attitude may change,
Our looks may change,
But remember live it up,
Whilst it’s your teenage days!

Christmas Party

Students, their families and staff gathered to enjoy our annual Christmas tree event. A beautiful Christmas dinner with all the trimmings was lovingly prepared by Chef Sharon.

The event was held in the evening overlooking our beautiful Dreaming Trail. It is a great opportunity for students to introduce their families to their teachers, house parents and friends.

The atmosphere was full of joy and laughter as stories were shared and people from many different places came together to celebrate. We were even lucky enough to have a visit from Santa and three helpers who ‘flew in’ to spread Christmas cheer.

The Elves helped Santa distribute gifts for each student, thanking them for a wonderful year and wishing them happy holidays as they head home to be with their families over the holiday period.

VCAL Year 11 Outcomes

This year has been the first year for Year 11 VCAL at Worawa. Next year is the very first group of Year 12 VCAL students. There have been many highlights as well as many character building challenges. Each year level of VCAL at Worawa is designed to prepare students for future employment, study and community leadership and commitment. Students this year have participated in projects about Aboriginal rights and contact history, they have been involved in work placements and traineeships and they have kicked goals when it comes to vocational skills in the areas of business and hospitality. Skills in both of these fields are invaluable as students make their way towards a career they choose whether it be for part-time work or so that they have the computer and people skills for any type of employment and career. As students embark on their last year of secondary school in 2019, students will be planning in detail and on a very practical level, the next steps in their journey. This includes confirming university and further study or employment opportunities as well as accommodation, networking and support services as they make this exciting but challenging transition in their lives. Congratulations to the girls, families and communities for supporting the commitment to education and opportunities in the future.

Experiences in STEAM at Worawa

This term in STEAM students have been studying the first form of Science, Astronomy, and learning about the stories of the first astronomers in the World, Aboriginal Astronomers. To support their in-class learning, students visited the Planetarium to experience ‘Stories in the Stars’, a visual retelling of stories from the Boorong people of North-West Victoria.

The night sky was brought to life on the unique dome-shaped screen of the Planetarium allowing the students to pinpoint the exact location of the star constellations highlighted in ‘Stories in the Stars’ and bring the stories to life.

Students were also inspired to follow careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through participation in the inaugural Air 4 Life event. The whole school woke up early for a 7:30 am bus to Luna Park where they were joined by 700 other young women from around Melbourne. The event was sponsored by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), the Air Force and the Defence Science Institute and focused on celebrating women in STEM. During the day students had the opportunity to meet and talk with some of Australia’s most accomplished women within the STEM fields who shared their life stories, struggles and achievements. The main focus of the day was showcasing how STEM knowledge and concepts are vital to the functioning of objects we take for granted in everyday life, including the mechanisms of theme park rides that we all enjoy so much. Naturally, the students had to test that the theories and concepts were accurate by trying out the rides!

While the rest of the student body were climbing onto the bus for Luna Park, three Year 8 students Indiana, Kyanna and Miranda were in a taxi heading to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport for the annual Pymble National Exchange. The girls enjoyed four jam-packed days were they experienced living and learning at a school with 2000 students, participated in a surfing lesson at Manly beach and saw the iconic sites of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The girls had a wonderful experience catching city trains and sharing stories with fellow students from all around Australia and forming life-long friendships.

Our year in STEAM was rounded out with participation in ‘We Have An Opportunity’ a Digital Fabrication Challenge at Lauriston Girls School. Valerie, Mary-Cruz, Eucharia and Elizabeth represented the school with pride and displayed the Worawa Ways during the 3-day challenge. The girls experienced inner-city living, catching public transport to Lauriston each day and worked as a team to develop, design and prototype a Phone App to educate about the diversity of contemporary Aboriginal culture. The challenge ended with a presentation where the girls demonstrated strength and pride talking about their heritage and presenting their application design.

Cadet Ranger Program

This term three students from the Worawa Cadet Ranger Program, Lornie, Deborah and Jessica, travelled to Sydney to present at the annual ‘Kids Teaching Kids’ showcase event held at Qantas headquarters.

Students were given a full tour of the Qantas building which highlighted sustainability improvements. Our students presented an activity that identifies the Wurundjeri Seasonal Calendar highlighting the indicators such as animal behaviours, plant cycles and the cultural events that happen throughout the year.

The calendar comes from the region that the College is located on and we have been able to collate images and weather charts to assist the students in identifying visual clues as to when the seasonal changes occur.

The girls enjoyed the opportunity to share the local knowledge they have gathered this year for the seasonal calendar. We look forward to the Keeper Program next year at Healesville Sanctuary and developing more resources to work with sharing important sustainability and conservation information in creative ways.

Sports at Worawa

Sport is a huge part of life at Worawa and the entire Worawa community loves to be involved and watch girls grow and develop their sporting skills.

Throughout the term the girls worked together to develop as a team which shone through in how they communicated and encouraged one another whether on the basketball, or netball court, footy field or softball pitch.

The girls played their final basketball match for the year on our last day of term, with friends and family cheering them on and echoing throughout the stadium to bring an incredible energy and joy t

o all the girls playing, it was a special night to end a great year of basketball.

This year we held our very own Sports Presentation Awards event held at the Yarra Valley Lodge, to acknowledge the contribution and support of coaches, organisations and supporters to celebrate the effort and achievement of all of our students in sport.

The award for Sports Woman of the Year went to Milena Mosquito.

Worawa Walk

Throughout Term 4 students participated in the Melbourne to Darwin walk by doing laps of the oval at lunch and recess. Each lap counted for 24 kilometres towards their trek to Darwin, with students earning prizes at designated towns along the way. It was good to see most of the students doing laps at some point over the term, with over 33 students participating.

While walking the students were able to have some great conversations as well as feeling good after exercising. The first students to complete the 160 laps (an actual total of 64 kilometres) and reach Darwin was Katelyn Woodhouse, followed by Mary-Cruz Fernadez and Valerie Warramurra. All received prizes, including a t-shirt designed by Katelyn, for their achievement in rigour, persistence and reaching goals.

Traditional Dancers Shine

Our talented group of traditional dancers capped off a stellar year of culture and performances with a wonderful performance of Lungurrma (North Wind) in front of the Governor of Victoria and many other distinguished guests and family members on Presentation Day.

During this term, the dancers have practised and shared dances from several different regions. Earlier in the term. the girls danced for a large group of visitors from Deloitte, many of whom had not had the opportunity to see traditional dance previously.

It is exciting to see the girls sharing dances from different areas, as diverse as Croker Island, Elcho Island and the Central Desert, and taking on the responsibilities of being custodians and teachers, honouring and sharing their stories and knowledge with confidence and pride. Students from partner school Pymble Ladies College in Sydney were entranced on our Culture Day to be able to share many new experiences and very much enjoyed watching the dancers and learning a little about the meanings of the dances.

Sports Academy

Students in the Sports Academy received their IAAF Coaching Kids in Athletics Certificates from Athletics Australia and quickly put their coaching and leadership skills to work by organising the school House Athletics Day. They organised all of the students into house teams, named after successful female athletes Nova Peris, Cathy Freeman, Evonne Goolagong and Shantelle Thompson. They organised the event and equipment and conducted house meetings, allocating students into events.

The Athletics Day was held at Yarra Ranges Athletic Track and the girls dressed in their house colours to represent their teams. The students participated in many events including 100 sprint, long jump and shot put. The highlights of the day would have to be the team tug-of-war and the team relay. The students had a great day participating in all the events and cheering on each other. The winner of the day was blue house – Team Peris.



Download Term 4 Newsletter 2018