Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2021

Sports at Worawa

We are proud to announce a new partnership with RHSports, experts in sports equipment and clothing. We look forward to working with the RHSports team. The College’s sports program has an emphasis on individual participation in a diverse range of sports. Sports on offer include favourites of netball, basketball, football and softball. Whilst some girls participate in every sport offered, others have a preferred game of choice. Basketball is the game of choice for many of our students. During the term break the College installed a basketball court. We are looking forward to the return of students and the opening of our new basketball court set against the backdrop of a stunning landscape.

Giving Voice to Students

Giving voice to our students is all about relationships. At Worawa, we do this by empowering our students to be seen and heard. We encourage and expect students to think for themselves, their needs and communicate openly from this premise. Naturally, this takes commitment and courage not to shy away from opportunities and to accept responsibility to work together to make our boarding experiences enjoyable, empowering and most importantly, educational.

On one hand, students are managing their self-care responsibilities and on another hand, their growing self-awareness includes navigating their relationships with others and this involves speaking up. In boarding students occupy a space that is not home or their cultural community, and it is not teachers or school. It is a shared living space where we agree to our common right to feel safe and learn which can be fun through shared living experiences where ownership and leadership are important ingredients for success.

Giving voice through Respect Circle is about showing up; where we listen, learn and lead, in order to maintain healthy relationships. It presents a chance to have a say about not only what we do on the weekend but how we are as a community. Practising reflective skills to build healthy connections in their relationships with one another then helps to inform their shared experiences from a strength-based perspective.

House Meetings are opportunities to voice more specific feedback about how people are impacted by each other’s actions and to find shared solutions in a more intimate environment. Acknowledging differences allows the students to appreciate and respect each other’s cultural ways and work towards living more cooperatively. Through a strength-based approach, similarities are celebrated and greater understanding and cohesion is achieved. 

Through Restorative Practice, one of the more challenging meetings students and staff are expected to engage in, we work to move from ‘conflict to cooperation’ in a way that repairs harm and restores community. Having the courage to voice how we have experienced other people’s actions and stating what we want to see in order to feel safe and move on from harm is a powerful lifelong tool for healing and creating change. An important aspect of Restorative Practice is to support students to transition back into their relationships with a healthy sense of self intact.

In the boarding, community staff strive to be consistently approachable, empathic and seek to empower the students through listening to their voices. Students are able to come to staff to share their ideas and suggestions; staff will then work with students to navigate how they can achieve an outcome that benefits the community as a whole. This fosters a commitment to responsible communication where differences can be discussed and considered in healthy ways, free of shame and doubt. Ultimately, empowering structures are embedded into the boarding program to facilitate places of connection where students listen, learn and lead through their voice.

Multicultural Day

To achieve their outcomes for Personal Development Skills, as well as Literacy and Numeracy, the students of VCAL decided to run a Multicultural Day as the major activity for the term. They decided to hold it on May 21st, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day organized by the United Nations that urges everyone to do their part to bridge the gap between cultures. The students planned to recognise this day by introducing four different cultures from around the world to the younger students of Worawa.

In groups of 2-3, they each spent the term learning about their chosen cultures, such as the traditions, the clothes they wear, what they eat and activities, hobbies and games they play for fun. Each group had to organise a thirty-minute session to present to younger students.

This task involved a lot of preparation and organisation. The VCAL students had to meet with Robin, the chef, and discuss traditional foods they would serve, they needed to organize the room set up with decorations, research and produce their informative PowerPoint presentation, organise and make traditional clothes and research and produce the materials for the traditional games and activities they would play. With help from the VCAL teachers, the students worked diligently to make this day memorable.

Miranda, Indiana, and Kyanna brought the festivity of the Mexican culture alive. Along with Desiree, who is from Mexico, the students decorated the room in bright festive colours, dressed in traditional ponchos and sombreros or Day of the Dead costumes and served up traditional foods such as Picadillo, three milk cakes and Mexican corn on the cob. They played traditional games and learned how to dance around the sombrero.

Sarah, Kylinda and Martika focused on the lesser-known Evenki culture. They turned the room into a wintery cold environment, building a traditional tent with fur lining the floors in the middle of the room. They wore fur coats and fur-lined boots. They taught the students about the traditions of the culture and Sarah told a traditional Indigenous tale that provoked a lot of screams! They served deer meat and traditional homemade ice cream. They also introduced a popular game of the Evenki and that was to lasso a wooden reindeer. They enjoyed this game with many students demonstrating great skills in the art of lassoing.

Ooen-s’tae and Shontay brought the springtime of the South Korean culture to life by decorating the room with blossom trees and pink, white and red lanterns and fans. With the help of Kat, who is from South Korea, her husband Han and friend Rima, they were able to capture this exquisite culture. They wore traditional Hanboks and served sushi, Hotteok pancakes, Bulgogi and bubble tea. They made origami to play a traditional game called Ddakji. They also taught the students traditional Korean words, which the students thoroughly enjoyed.

Mary and Margie turned the room into the lush tropical environment of Cambodia. They had plants and ferns all around the room with a Buddha statue and candles to create a serene atmosphere. They dressed in a traditional dress called a Sampot and after their informative presentation and serving of Beef Loc Lac and Phnom Penh, they had the students lie down, relax and meditate in Buddhist style. A very calming session!

The Multicultural Day was a success due to the efforts of the VCAL students. They allowed the students of Worawa to appreciate others’ traditions and ways of living by bringing these cultures to life. The younger students really enjoyed the day and were impressed by the organization and efforts that had gone into it.

A Taste of Cooking

In VCAL this term, the students investigated how mathematics is used in the kitchen. After a few messy mishaps, while making Microwave Mug Cakes, the students realised the importance of measurement in cooking. Some learnt to double-check the quantity needed for each ingredient so their recipes are edible. While others will now ensure that their cooking vessel is big enough so their cake isn’t wasted by exploding all over the microwave!

As part of the Multicultural Day event, the VCAL students selected traditional recipes from their chosen culture to cook. In preparation for the day, the students refined their multiplication and fractions skills by adjusting recipes from feeding a few people to 40 hungry teenagers. Their adjustments, portions and dishes were successful, though there were a few chopped carrots leftover for another meal.

Later in the term, the students discovered that the kitchen can also be used to create body care products. They were surprised to be able to use common household ingredients to produce a healthy lip scrub. The students practised their problem-solving skills when an error in estimation resulted in the vanilla running out. They calmly and resourcefully substituted other similar ingredients and then trialled their products. Brown grainy smiles filled the VCAL room as they excitedly discussed making it again to share with other students and family.

The VCAL students will continue their exploration of the kitchen next term to grow in confidence and prepare them for life after school.

Learning from the Land of the Past

This term witnessed a lively cohort of 7/8 students studying Humanities. The History focus was The Vikings which students embraced enthusiastically, no doubt keen to confirm or challenge the accuracy of recent Hollywood blockbusters and streaming service hits.

Students learnt that the Norsemen’s blood-soaked reputation was a reality; however, tempered by a keen sense of honour and a code of laws in their Scandinavian homeland. Students were particularly fascinated by ‘beserkers’ who had a fearsome reputation for merciless mayhem.

But The Vikings were not all about violence; they were well established farming communities, highly progressive in terms of rights for women, great storytellers, advanced seamen (the first Europeans to reach American shores), skilled craftsmen and the originators of the world’s oldest surviving Parliament which continues in Iceland.

The Geography focus of this term has been associated with water usage and abusage. Students are now able to recognize how precious resource water is, particularly in Australia – the world’s driest continent. Furthermore – there is still much to be learned from Aboriginal water management practices as opposed to the grossly unsustainable agricultural irrigation methods employed in the Murray Darling Basin which is sadly not an isolated example.

Kombadik and Baggup have been introduced to the dawn of the modern world, the rise of The Industrial Revolution and its social impacts – most pertinently the colonialization of Australia.

Industrialisation in Great Britain led to serious prison overcrowding and with the loss of American Colonies following the American War of Independence, new land for penal settlements was sought. Thus began the darkest chapter in our history. Students produced a series of excellent slide show presentations on inventions, the origins of which lay in the Industrial Revolution.

Geography studies have focused on changes in the environment and its management. It has been brought to student’s attention that aboriginal farming practices were entirely sustainable unlike the damage caused by more recent agricultural methods and systems.

Only now are we beginning to learn the significance of the failure to recognize and champion Aboriginal farming methods. Tragically, introduced species of plants and animals make it very difficult to exploit previously established and highly successful systems. Is it too late? Only time will tell.

Students have been encouraged to take pride in their ancestor’s approach to farming and to recognize the negative impact of more recent agricultural activity.

Experiencing the Work Force

Our VCAL Work Placement program is an essential part of the competency development for our senior students. To have them experience work in a real setting and have tasks set for them as a staff member and part of a team is a fabulous learning opportunity for the girls to gain a better understanding of the skills and requirements for a variety of positions and industries. To prepare for placement, students complete a rigorous application process that includes developing skills in resume and cover letter writing, exploring possible career pathways that will allow them to enter their ideal workplace, completing Work Health Safety assessments, an interview and a workplace induction.

While on placement students will be completing assessment tasks for Work-Related Skills and as part of that, they keep a Work Journal where they reflect on their day, remember key events and think about skills that they need to improve. At the end of Term Two, all but three in the VCAL class are ready to begin their first exploration into the workforce. Students have placements that are local to the school on either Wednesdays or Thursdays. Their placements will give them each the opportunity to develop employability skills, improve their confidence and their independence as young women in the workforce.

Our Work Placement students would like to thank Healesville Sanctuary, Eastern Community Legal Centre, Badger Creek Primary, The Big Bouquet and Healesville RACV Resort for giving them the opportunity to be supported in their introduction to the World of Work and continuing that support into Terms Three and Four.

A Term of Artistic Exploration

Term Two was another opportunity for students to explore new visual skills and techniques as well as exploring art concepts. Murnong and Cumbungi students began the term by using digital cameras to run through photographic angles, shots and framing. This resulted in a photographic interpretation of their name using found objects from around the room and in the garden.

The students then looked at the amazing work of the Yarrenyty Arltere Artists of Alice Springs and were inspired to create their own crazy bird sculptures. Baggup and Kombadik classes improved their ceramic skills to make coiled pots inspired by the storytelling style of the Hermannsburg Potters. VCAL students continued to work through the design process and were fortunate to have a visit from their clients, the Lake Lilydale Children’s Centre, who provided students with more detailed information and feedback on their initial design ideas. The staff at the Children’s centre are very excited to have Worawa students produce a new logo design for their uniforms and were eager to show respect for First Nations people in this area.

The biggest news for our subject is the finalization of the media centre within our art building. Students will now be able to explore digital media to create art and design works. Groups of students have already had the opportunity to use the Mac computers and are really excited to explore the possibilities of this technology.

Professional Development Our Way

Worawa Aboriginal College is a learning community. As such we value Two Way learning.

The Worawa approach to professional development is reflected in the Strategic Plan for 2021-2023. While the chief focus is on improving the outcomes for our students, emphasis is placed on identifying strategic directions and themes to support quality learning outcomes for students and staff within the Worawa Integrated Model. At Worawa we respect Aboriginal ways of Knowing, Doing and Being.

We begin each day by honouring the Aboriginal value system and associated kinship.

We pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians, the Spirit Ancestor and those who have walked the Land before us – we give an undertaking to Respect and Care for Country.

Our teaching is based on Aboriginal values and pedagogy.

In summary:

  • We connect through the stories we share
  • We picture our pathways of knowledge
  • We see, think, act, make and share without words
  • We keep and share knowledge with art and objects
  • We work with lessons from land and nature
  • We put different ideas together and create new knowledge
  • We work from wholes to parts, watching and then doing
  • We bring new knowledge home to help our mob

Cultural competency of staff is prioritised, requiring the capacity of individuals to work with Aboriginal people in a way that is sensitive to, and respectful of, Aboriginal cultural beliefs and practices. Professional development for all staff includes raising awareness of and sensitivity to the history, culture, contemporary lifestyle and enduring characteristics of our students. Along with professional learning to strengthen the delivery and understanding of Aboriginal pedagogy, values, community-led initiatives and self-determination.

Staff Appointments

Rosalea Cameron

Deputy Principal

Dr Rosalea Cameron joined Worawa in the newly created position of Deputy Principal at the commencement of Term 2, 2021.

The creation of this new role will focus on the academic needs of students and staff development at the College. As a highly experienced Principal, with extensive posts in the Northern Territory as a Teaching Principal and Principal Mentor, Dr Cameron steps into this important role with a deep understanding of the needs of this community. In addition to her educational leadership work in Australia, Dr Cameron has held leadership and teaching roles in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Mozambique, and America.

Dr Cameron holds a range of targeted certificates in careers, training and assessment, as well as a Diploma of Primary Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Education, and a Doctorate of Philosophy. She has undertaken a range of volunteer and NGO positions, sharing her passionate and rich knowledge of education training teachers and supporting students.

Vivienne Desmarchelier

Head of Boarding and Student Wellbeing

Vivienne Desmarchelier took up the leadership role of Head of Boarding and Student Wellbeing at the beginning of Term 1. Vivienne brings to the role extensive experience having previously worked in both Boarding and Wellbeing roles at a boarding school Darwin. Vivienne has demonstrated experience in establishing and supporting the transition of students from remote Aboriginal communities into the school boarding experience along with a passion for wellbeing. Vivienne is delighted to be in a position to work with the only Aboriginal school in Australia that caters specifically for Aboriginal girls.

David Hausler

Business Manager

David Hausler has recently accepted the role of Business Manager at Worawa, following an intensive recruitment process. David commences in this role on 28 June 2021 in a full-time capacity.

A highly experienced Finance Manager, David’s most recent role as the Head of Finance at Flinders Christian Community College where he has spent the last 8 years. David has over 20 years of experience in various Business Manager and Finance roles and also ran his own charity for 6 years.

David’s experience working in an Independent School provides a strong background for this role. He observes that he has a reputation for leading improvement focused teams to ensure the highly effective human, financial and infrastructure resourcing of schools for the benefit of students and the school community.

David holds a Bachelor in Business (Accounting) and is a member of the Institute of Public Accountants.

Wendy Shulz


Wendy is a local who recently returned from a position at Tiwi College. Wendy has taken on the position of Registrar during Term 2, and brings knowledge of working in an Aboriginal setting – she has been ‘adopted’ into a Tiwi family and has connections with some of our students.

Wendy has worked as a Personal Assistant, Houseparent and Lifestyle and Leisure Coordinator, most recently working as a Support Worker in the classroom for the last 3 years at Tiwi College.

Wendy holds a Diploma in Community Services and is currently completing a Certificate of Counselling.

Microbes – The Good and the Bad

Microbes have been thrust into the spotlight whether they like it or not! But what are they, and are they all bad? These questions and many more are what we explored in our Biological Sciences unit this term.

Students had the opportunity to enter this topic through a range of focuses – where do microbes sit in the Food Web, how do we Classify them and what do they have to do with Infectious Diseases? No scientific study is complete without a good experiment. For this students engaged in an in-depth exploration of bacteria growth and hypothesised which surfaces around the school carry the most varied bacterial colonies.

We swabbed door handles, classroom desks, sinks, windows, toilets and the bottom of our shoes! The winner with the most impressive agar plate was the lock on the toilet cubical door! Shakaila who selected this location theorised that it would have the most varied bacteria because everyone has to touch it after using the toilet and before washing their hands, but it is so small that we don’t think of cleaning it.

Our key Science word for 2021 has been Energy. In Physical Sciences we explored types of energy, transference and transformation. In Biological Sciences we explored energy as food. How it travels through the Food Web and the key role Microbes play in returning energy to the Earth.

Next term we look forward to discovering what role Energy plays in Chemical Sciences.

Strong Young Women – Growing Strong Young Women Through Student Agency

Worawa Aboriginal College has a commitment to growing strong young women through student agency. Students learn through activities that are meaningful and relevant. They are given a voice and often a choice, in how they learn.

Responsibility and ownership are the pillars of agency and staff work with students to create contexts where these pillars are built and strengthened. In the classroom, learning is differentiated according to the stage of learning and optimal learning process for each student. Teachers invite input from students and negotiate ways learning can be reflected. Students take responsibility to complete tasks thoroughly and within agreed time frames. Teachers offer feedback and invite further development of some tasks.

In the context of sport, students choose the game in which they will compete and they are supported to consistently engage in training to be match-ready. Students manage their uniforms, take responsibility for changing on time, and self-regulate so that there is healthy team collaboration. For this to be successful, students are invited to accept feedback so that skills are refined and attitude is team-oriented.

Teachers and House Parents are active partners with students in nurturing student agency. In both Boarding and School contexts, there is structure, routine and consistency. There is encouragement, challenge and feedback.

Graduating from the Pathways to Womanhood program, successfully completing chosen work experience opportunities, fairly and robustly training and competing in community-based team sports fixtures are just a few examples that showcase the Worawa student agency. We celebrate stages of maturity and aspire to self-determination for each Worawa graduate.

Download Term 2 Newsletter 2021

Worawa Term 1 Newsletter 2021

Boarding and Wellbeing Through Circle Time

At Worawa, boarding is learning through living. It is a vital part of each girl’s educational growth and development. Every day the girls are discovering something new about their relationship to self, others and places of significance to them. This term the learning has come through some important relationship changes with not only the leadership of the program, through the new appointment of Viv Desmarchelier, but also through a more experiential approach to the program supported by the House Parent team.

Girls are learning through their lived experiences, and are expected to actively be engaged in their well-being. Wellbeing is not just an individual process but also a group process. Therefore, whether it is decisions affecting them as an individual, like a small house group, as a junior or senior group or as a whole, collaboration and community are key principles at play and their opinions matter. What are our responsibilities in taking care?

One strategy for this is achieved through group work. The experiential process involves participation through ‘Circle’ time. Each day students may meet as a house group under the guidance of a house parent or senior student and discuss their responsibilities or matters personal to the smooth running of the household. Decisions are made through listening and learning from each other and problem-solving.

Our learning week is ‘bookended’ by two bigger group meetings. On a Sunday evening, a junior and senior Wellbeing Circle Time meeting is held to lead into the school week. On a Thursday evening, a Respect Circle is held for the whole boarding cohort to lead into the weekend. These meetings have the specific task of engaging students in group processes whereby they can listen, learn and with increased confidence, lead. A feature of the process is two-way learning, equity and building respect. How does this all lead to taking care of our wellbeing?

Respect Circle time on a Thursday evening is all about gratitude. By focusing on the gifts around us we can see that we are blessed and can harness the good in our lives. What have we learnt this week at school or in boarding, what are we grateful for and how are we celebrating this in our key relationships? Respect is central to this process. Appreciating what we or others have achieved from our own efforts, can inspire us to keep going.

By reflecting on where we may like to make further changes and with a strength-based perspective how can I support myself to be my best is relevant to us all as individuals and as a group. Through seeing staff model and encourage girls to take safe risks, such as stating their needs, achievements and worries help build trusting expectations of each other to be caring and thoughtful. By having a good laugh at what went well, what they can change and what they will avoid next time brings everyone to an important space of self-acceptance and compassion. Through hearing shared experiences, empathy is built between the girls in appreciating that they are all on a collective journey of growth through learning together. No one is alone however only we can do the footwork, and isn’t it good to have others with us on this journey!

Our Wellbeing Circle time is all about skill building and goal setting. Growth comes from overcoming challenges. How can I support myself through the coming week of opportunity for learning – what do I need to work on, who can help me – how am I going to help myself? Linked with this is developing skills for understanding our emotional landscape and giving acceptable and unacceptable behaviours a name. This is so we can work together at protecting our culture of wellbeing and building an emotional language and currency that we all understand. Girls may participate in organizing a BBQ together out in the bush up the road or practice some deep relaxation or meditation skills to draw on when stressed. Wellbeing isn’t something others do to them, it is something they take initiative for and engage in an increasingly make happen through positive choices. What would they like their weekends to be about and who and how shall this happen?

A fundamental aspect of Circle time is utilizing restorative practices to heal harm in our relationships when hurt has been caused. Girls are familiar with this process and will ask to meet for help or maybe expected to partake in the process as part of restoring balance in the community. Commitment to this process is central to functioning well as a collective and every time we come together we are strengthening our support of these processes. Reinforcing our vision girls come to know first-hand that experience becomes knowing which leads to action informed by healthy practices in wellbeing, culture and education that all the staff and students are learning alongside each other day by day.

Keeping Spirits Strong

The stories of our leaders past and present provide inspiration for keeping the spirit strong. Following Aboriginal wisdom, knowing who you are and where you belong comes from connections to country, family and cultural traditions. Now research has validated what Elders have been pointing out for a long time – that strong and positive connections to country, family and culture are the foundations of wellbeing and resilience.

Affirming and supporting these connections in order to grow strong, confident young women is at the core of the Worawa educational approach.

This year’s Senior Australian of the Year award honoured Ngangiwumirr Elder and esteemed educator Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM. Miriam-Rose is widely known and respected for her teaching about Dadirri, the “inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness” which is central to Aboriginal spirituality.

According to Miriam-Rose three elements of wellbeing particularly affect young people in First Nations communities. She believes that the challenges and fast pace of today’s living make it vitally important to slow down and listen deeply, to know who you are, and to have a sense of belonging. She describes Dadirri as a way of connecting with “the deep spring that is inside us.” By helping to connect people with their deeper selves the practice of Dadirri can have profound benefits for health and wellbeing.

Yarning together has long been an important way for Aboriginal people to connect and care for one another. To supplement this emphasis on affirming cultural identity and connectedness we also draw useful elements from mainstream psychology and education. Social and emotional learning involves teaching communication skills, skills for regulating emotions and problem-solving, as well as skills for positive relationships and friendships. This term we placed emphasis on skill development by exploring with the girls what it means to be respected and safe. Here Dadirri has led us to reflect on the value of really listening to ourselves and to others.

Although we have only very recently started with this strengths-based approach we have already seen some very promising signs. Using the approach of Dadirri we have begun to explore how we can grow strong spirits. The girls have been encouraged to continue this exploration over the holidays by asking people around them what keeps their spirit strong.

Senior Students Commerce Pathways to Womanhood Program

Pathways to Womanhood is a course unique to Worawa Aboriginal College. It was developed by senior specialised Educators, experienced in creating education while focusing through an Aboriginal lens under the direction of the Executive Director and Worawa Council of Elders. The culmination of this course is Debutante Dreaming where the debutantes are formally presented to Elders. Mothers of the debutantes travel from their home communities to be with their daughters for this once in a lifetime event which celebrates the rite of passage to womanhood through a combination of Western and Aboriginal culture.

The ultimate goal of the Pathways to Womanhood course is to create a set of experiences and reflections that assist the students to make healthy choices and enable them to walk with confidence in any context they choose. The course focuses on those skills and experiences that will diversify and increase the future opportunities of those students who elect to take part in the course.

Among the many opportunities, the Pathways to Womanhood course offers, in 2021 the students will enjoy a couture experience.

A group of Pathways to Womanhood students were invited to attend exclusive fashion fabric retailer ‘Stitches to Style’ to select a fabric of their choice. Fashion designer Svetlana Khmelevskaya was on hand to assist with the selection and will then work with the girls to create their own dress. This is a rare opportunity. Students examined the colours and textures of the available fabrics. The choice was stunning and made the selection very challenging. The resultant choices were very colourful and unique.

Students were asked to express why they had chosen certain colours and designs. The answers were as diverse as the students themselves. One answer to this question encouraged all present to be true to their own unique values and preferences.

Senior student, Mary-Cruz Fernandez was looking at the many bolts of fabrics and then, confidently made her choice. The fabric is a wavy design of many different blues with some sparkle added through sequins and beading. When asked why she chose that fabric Mary-Cruz smiled and said it was for her country, Salt Water Country. When asked by designer Svetlana what she liked about her body and how she felt she wanted to express herself physically through design, she did not have to think long. “I like that my body is strong.” How confirming it is to hear a student make selections based on a strong culture and a healthy understanding of her own worth!

Mary’s short answer demonstrated her understanding of worth based on deep values and cultural strength.

Pathways to Womanhood and Debutante Dreaming are all about those values. Strength, culture and confidence to express individuality no matter where the student may be. Whether she is in a Melbourne fashion house with an accomplished designer or on her home country with her family, a Pathways student is experienced and prepared to be herself. She can express herself clearly and with confidence.

As the course progresses, the Pathways student honours her culture, family and community, she will study her own history and uniqueness, attend formal dinners, enjoy self-development training, work with partner schools, participate in self-care and responsibility, learn and practice public speaking. The course will be rigorous and challenging.

Pathways to Womanhood and Debutante Dreaming are special experiences for students who are ready to take responsibility for their learning and progress.

We are excited to see a new group of students participate in this very special course and event.

Debutante Dreaming will take place on Saturday, 7th August 2021 at Pullman Melbourne on the Park, 192 Wellington Parade East Melbourne. For bookings enquiries please telephone Worawa on 0498 967 292 or registrar@worawa.vic.edu.au.

Sports Academy

It was wonderful to see students returning to their Sports Academy program after it was put on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19. Students began the program by participating in activities that are considered lifelong. They enjoyed attending archery at the Yarra Valley Archery Club where they learned to use the bow and arrows at close and long range. They were taught lawn bowling at the Healesville Lawn Bowling club. Members of the club demonstrated the game to the students and they played a series of games against each other. The final activity that students participated in was water aerobics at the RACV Country Club in Healesville. Students were taken through a water safety class with Lifesaving Victoria. They learned the basics of water safety and how to deal with an emergency. This will be followed up next term with a CPR class. The students also had the opportunity to participate in fitness sessions every day to improve their health and wellbeing and develop a base fitness level.

Stop! Timeline Time!

Every Friday, in the Mathematics room, the Year 7 & 8 students could be heard excitedly yelling “Stop! Timeline Time!” when it was time to start work on their project. Throughout the term, they worked hard to create their own version of the Timeline card game as part of learning about Place Value and negative and positive numbers. The Timeline game cards have a historical fact and linked picture on both sides and the related date only on one side. The aim of the game is to be able to place the historical facts in the correct spot on a timeline without looking at the date.

As a class, they discussed what type of events and dates were important for them to remember or were interesting to learn. The students then split into groups and used books and the internet to research dates in their chosen topic. The topics included world history, Aboriginal history, inventions, movies and well-known people. Some exciting facts the students discovered were that the first iPhone is about the same age as them and that Uluru started to form 550 million years ago. Once they selected which facts to include, the students summarised the information into a dot point and found a related picture. The final lesson of the term was a hubbub of activity as the students cut, folded, laminated and sorted the cards to complete their game. The students look forward to teaching the whole school how to play their game next term.

Visual Art in Term One 2021

Throughout the term, students explored a variety of visual art skills, techniques and concepts. Murnong and Cumbungi students learnt about storytelling through symbols and images, including a range of traditional Aboriginal art styles. They experimented and then applied printmaking materials, techniques, and processes to transform their visual ideas onto fabric.

Baggup and Kombadik classes created a self-portrait reflecting their personal and cultural identity. Students learnt about the use of images to tell their story and how to layout these images to create a strong design. They then explored 3D form by experimenting with the medium of clay. They developed pottery techniques and processes such as slab building and pinch pot forms.

VCAL students are being introduced to the concept of creating design work for a client and target audience. They participated in activities from brainstorming visual ideas, to presenting finished artwork. VCAL student Ooen-s’tae, was successful in producing the logo design chosen by the Zart Art suppliers for their national conference in September and Sarah, Shontay, Miranda and Kylinda were the designers of the new Worawa Economy banknotes.

A great start for all students in the Visual art classes. Next term we should be launching our new media space and begin a series of exciting media-based activities.


This term, students identified how valuing diversity positively influences the wellbeing of the community. They explored the values and beliefs of different cultures and groups in the community and around the world. Students completed a research assignment where they selected an Indigenous culture from another part of the world where they could learn about other traditions and customs. They reflected on the different stereotypes in society and the damaging effect that comes from them. Students also learned about gender and identity, and the impact that gender norms can have on health and social outcomes. In Physical Education, students completed fitness testing to assess their levels. To enhance their fitness, they participated in circuit training as well as modified games to improve their fundamental motor skills.

Return to the Steam Lab

The Worawa Girls celebrated their return to the STEAM Lab by donning white lab coats and safety glasses and participating in a range of Physical Sciences experiments to explore transference and transformation of Heat, Light and Sound Energy.

Students began by re-familiarizing themselves with the lab, by developing or refreshing their lab safety skills and discussing the structure and purpose of lab reports. The girls worked in teams to identify and manage risks during practical experiments. Throughout the term, they worked as a class and independently to complete reports with increasing technicality and incorporating key vocabulary and scientific drawings.

One of the hardest aspects of studying Physics is that although we can see the end result of the work done, we cannot see the forces at work. To combat this challenge, students worked hard to develop links between their known vocabulary and new Science vocabulary, conducted research and completed multiple experiments which allowed them to approach and discuss Energy from multiple angles.

A highlight of the Term was comparing Newton Colour Wheels – Reverse Rainbows with Newton’s Prism Experiments. It was fascinating to see a beam of light split into a rainbow and then a rainbow ‘turned back’ into white light. The girls are to be congratulated for their independent explorations which resulted in some students discovering and discussing how the pupils in our eyes enlarge and contract depending on how much light is shone at them.

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Worawa Community Outreach

After leaving early in Term 1, learning from home during Term 2 and learning from the boarding houses in Term 3, COVID-19 restrictions reduced enough for us to come together as a community for an afternoon of celebrating culture. Unfortunately, we were not able to invite guests to join us, however, we took this as an opportunity to explore some changes to our Culture Day format.

Students worked in house groups to establish a sense of family and ensure that everyone had an opportunity to help maintain the fire pits, cook kangaroo tail, potatoes and damper. We also prepared a cultural dinner instead of lunch so that we could share the meal with house parents and continue the festivities into the evening.

All girls were invited to participate in sharing dance and they performed as house groups or community groups. It was an honour to have our Central Desert girls share one of their dances with us and to watch them teach each other the steps. It was delightful to see the girls take charge on the day and a wonderful opportunity for staff and students to share and learn together.

Rose’s Story

I came to Worawa Aboriginal College because I struggled with my learning in previous schools and to experience more opportunities from a boarding school in Melbourne. I thought that maybe a school that is furthest away from home would help me learn and achieve more.

When I first came to Worawa it was term 4 in 2016. I was late in year 8, being older than some of the girls there and the only one from my community I felt a bit nervous at first about living this far away from home. Getting used to boarding life was also hard, they did things differently from home, but after a week I started to get into the routine and settled in nicely. I have even made some great friendships that have lasted a long time.

In the 4 years, I have been at Worawa some of the opportunities that I have taken are programs like modelling in ‘Whispers of the Land’ fashion parade at Melbourne Museum, the Deadly Sisters Indigenous Literacy week, Strong Girl play at St Martin’s Theatre, Cadet Rangers and Kids Teaching Kids events. I even went on Art and Technology excursions to RMIT and Melbourne University. Worawa is a place I got to do more of my art and also has opened me up to my interests which has rapidly changed over the years there was only one similarity with all of them is that I mostly had an interest for helping the environment however I can.

This is led me to Marine Biology. Part of why I want to do Marine Biology and Environmental science is because I am passionate about learning about the water crisis, and how to prevent overuse of water in remote communities. I am also interested in the variety of animals and plant life found in the oceans and water systems around the world.

Some of my favourite memories are our weekend trips to fun locations as a whole boarding group and spending time with my friends. Although we have not been able to go out this year, we have been spending time with smaller groups in the houses and building stronger connections with the house parents and each other. The thing I enjoy most at Worawa is the people. I think I’ve met about 4 times as many people that come and go at Worawa than in my own community.

I appreciated having people around me for guidance and support. Next year I am going to miss the familiar faces of the people I see at Worawa every day and I have done so for the last few years. I couldn’t be more grateful for my time at Worawa because it has helped me find my voice to be a more confident person and a stronger leader. I plan to go to RMIT next year.

Presentation Day 2020

The vision/philosophical statement of Worawa Aboriginal College is ‘Sending young Aboriginal women out into the world with confidence in who they are, where they want to be and what they can contribute to their communities and the wider world.’ And on Presentation Day we celebrate the achievement of our students.

Our 2020 Presentation Day was like no other. We had cause to celebrate the resilience, strength and adaptability of the girls who engaged in distance-education and those who returned to the College to complete Term 4.

In this context, we celebrate academic achievement and personal development of students who exhibit resilience, perseverance and effort. Our People perform ceremonies for many different occasions these incorporate song and dance events to celebrate many things including joyous celebrations such as Presentation Day. In the absence of parents, families, friends and supporters who would normally join in our Presentation Day celebrations, our students stepped up and took the reins in managing the day.

Following the presentation of awards, students danced and celebrated their achievements and the end of a most challenging year.

We particularly celebrated Rose who has graduated with the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and will be leaving Worawa to go to RMIT.

Rose is well equipped to take her place in the world beyond Worawa. Rose is the epitome of the quiet achiever, always applying herself to the best of her abilities and supporting her fellow students to achieve their best.

Rose was awarded the 2020 Hyllus Maris Award, the College’s highest award which is presented to a student who excels in academic, boarding, leadership and demonstrates Worawa values of Relationship, Responsibility, Respect and Rigour.

We wish Rose all the very best in continuing her learning journey.

English – Explore, Analyse, Create and Reflect

The Term 4 English program was developed so that it could be delivered to students still engaging in distance learning while on-campus students benefited from small classes with targeted learning objectives. Returning to face-to-face teaching and learning, students quickly adjusted to the school environment.

Beautiful new classrooms featuring the artwork of Azeza and Khatija Possum provided a space that was inviting despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19. They also provided students with an example of the infinite possibilities that lie ahead of them.

Each student worked with the English teachers to develop their own learning goals specific to the subject. Student-driven goals with frequent check-ins provided teachers with an opportunity to continue the personalised learning available to students at Worawa. Reading fluency, Warm-ups, to transfer content from short to longterm memory, and a differentiated spelling program enabled students to develop their understanding and mastery of spelling patterns and morphology. It has been incredible to watch the growth of students in the shorted term.

Year 7 and 8 students analysed the work of Roald Dahl exploring his journey to becoming an author before studying and responding to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Students explored Dahl’s use of figurative language and his ability to create amazing worlds and learnt how to develop characters and settings. The novel was also used to teach fundamental grammar concepts in context. Creative and analytical tasks were developed as students connected with different ways of responding to a written text. Viewing the film provided students with an opportunity to compare the texts and analyse the way that they can be varied to share a story.

In Year 9 and 10 students studied a range of texts exploring ways people tell their story. The term commenced with the class analysing the Spiritual Song of the Aborigine, written by the founder of Worawa, Hyllus Maris. Reflecting on the lyrics of Archie Roach, students explored how stories can be told through song. The students then read and analysed Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington – Nugi Garimara.

Exploring the use of primary sources to construct a narrative, the use of language and devastating impact of colonialism, they were introduced to three remarkable and resilient girls whose story will be told for generations to come.

Viewing the film provided the class with an opportunity to consider, debate and reflect on how stories can be shared in different ways.


Heywire Competition

In 2020 Worawa students participated in the ABC Heywire Competition. The format this year was different and the staff gave younger students the opportunity to participate in the writing workshops. Students planned, created and edited their pieces sharing stories about their passions and challenges.

It was a unique and fantastic learning experience for those involved. Congratulations must go to all girls who participated, especially those selected as finalists. Miranda Rose, whose piece was about challenges she faced on her journey to Worawa and Shontay Gregory who wrote about her passions, her community and challenges she has triumphed over. We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate Mary Cruz, Sarah and Ooen-s’tae for receiving Highly Commended for their pieces. We are lucky to have such remarkable young women at our school.

Healthy Heart Check

Worawa Aboriginal College provides a holistic program that includes education, wellbeing and culture. The College places emphasis on health and wellbeing to enable students to focus on their learning. To facilitate this Worawa has partnerships with a number of organisations that assist the College to address the health and wellbeing needs of our students.

In many of our Aboriginal communities, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and other heart diseases are common and can cause life-long health problems and many Aboriginal families are touched by Rheumatic Heart Disease. Worawa believes that if these problems in our children are found early there are lots that can be done to keep their hearts healthy and strong.

We are pleased to advise that as part of the College’s health and wellbeing program, we have partnered with Monash Children’s Hospital.

A cardiology team headed by Dr Ari Horton, Paediatric Cardiologist, Monash Heart, who work specifically in screening children to ensure that they have a healthy heart recently visited the College.

This team is highly experienced in caring for young people from communities all around Australia and young people with all sorts of heart problems including Rheumatic Heart Disease. The visit by this Monash Children’s Hospital team provided the opportunity to ensure students have a healthy heart and to provide opportunity for early detection of possible heart health issues.

Each student had a recording of their heart’s electrical signals (ECG) and an ultrasound video of their heart (echocardiogram). The specialist children’s heart doctor then met with each student to explain the results.

VCAL Business Studies

Throughout the term, VCAL students continued study of the subject, ‘Preparing for Employment’. This built on previous study with students having been given extension work to increase their knowledge and skill set in preparing to enter the work force. Students wrote examples of cover letters to suit their experiences and characteristics. Discussion took place on the importance of honesty when writing a resume and cover letter.

Preparing for an interview included discussion on how to answer interview questions such as “tell me about yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” Students then did mock interviews asking each other these questions. All students have completed the term with a better insight into who they are as a person and explored careers for life beyond Worawa.

Who’s the Boss

For careers this term, our year 7-10 students explored the investigation stage of the $20 Boss Project. This project develops Enterprise Skills. Engaging the girls in awareness and understanding about small business concepts such as startup costs, operating costs, purchase prices and profit. The aim of the project is to allow the girls to develop a small business idea that they can create with $20 per person involved in the team.

A student working on their own would only have $20 startup, but a team of 4 would have $80. Through a series of team-building games, students realized that we often need another person for support, skill or encouragement. Large teams, however, can mean that the group spends more time coming to an agreement rather than focusing on the product.

One of the interesting parts has been the chance to explore how a hobby or interest can become a business.

We have been looking at the options and the girls have the chance to boost their skills and ask for help with ideas over the holiday break before we come back for the action and implementation phase in term 1.

We are all looking forward to seeing how the ventures pan out for our $20 boss and the opportunities that may come out of students participating in the experience.

This challenge developed our understanding of material costs and communication. We will not tell the year nine and tens, but year seven and eight were more successful at completing the challenge.

Health Education

Our health focus for Term 4 was on emotional literacy and healthy relationships. Students learned to identify what can trigger their emotions and what are the coping strategies to deal with them.

Awareness of emotions is an important skill for our students to acquire as it enables them to cope, manage and navigate their way through any challenges they may face.

They can gain strength through their ability to recognize problems and solve any issues that arise through different coping strategies. Students also studied positive self-talk and the use of mindfulness for positive mental health.

Pathways to Womanhood

Girls commenced the Pathways to Womanhood program, This program is conducted throughout the year based on action learning which includes personal development and self-care. The program started with girls in a sharing circle. The aim of this section is to deepen connection and relationships. To assist students to find what it is that motivates them and makes them happy. To speak and share.

Take it Away Girls

Subtraction (aka take-away) is part of everyday life, as we compare heights, lose things, shop and describe the world around us. This term in Mathematics, the students discovered more about subtraction, learning how and when to use it to solve problems.

Key to understanding subtraction is learning and remembering number facts, such as 8–5=3. Through a variety of exercises in their daily homework and classroom warm-up, students learnt how to practice number facts by themselves. As such, students have become more able to take responsibility for their own learning, practising number facts and other skills anytime they want.

Sometimes in life, it is important to be able to quickly estimate or calculate subtraction problems in your head, particularly when shopping. This term, students learnt that as people think and process maths differently, there is more than one way to estimate and do mental computation. As a class, they shared and discussed their own methods, learning from and celebrating each other.

For their Financial Literacy outcome, the VCAL students practised estimating the total cost and change from transactions involving many items. They also looked at sales from their favoured shops Lovisa and JB Hi-fi to estimate the savings from complex discounts such as “Buy 1, get 1 free” or “3 items for $20”.

As well as using mental computation and calculators to solve problems, the students studied the written form of subtraction. At first, the process of trading (or regrouping) was a challenge for some students. However, through hands-on tasks with money and persistence, the students have all come to nearly or completely master this skill.

By the end of the term, all the students had a greater understanding of estimating and calculating subtraction equations to solve problems and explain their world.


During Term 4 in Mathematics, the students in years 7 to 10 have worked through the topic of Measurement. Due to COVID-19 Restrictions, working on this Unit did not have the ‘hands-on’ activities that can help enhance the learning experience. Instead, our girls had to be content with explanations, worksheets and a fair bit of number crunching.

Due to our shorter Term, we also only had time to cover elements of measurement to do with Length though it did not take long to realise that the topic of Length covers many aspects of measurement. The ability to convert between Units of measurement incorporates the topic of understanding decimal numbers. This is another example of how no topic within Mathematics is isolated.

Students also learnt how to calculate the Perimeter of a shape, the Area of several different shapes, as well as calculating Volume; we discovered that one Worawa student can sit comfortably inside 1m3. All of this connected to Length – what a big topic.

Steam and the Seasons

In STEAM this term, we explored the seasons that we experience across Australia. This included looking at the Seasonal Calendars that our communities experience, the signals and natural events that show us the change of seasons, the names given to seasons and exploring the impact of settlement on season identification.

Our Seasons traditionally connected people and animals to our food supply, the settlement has meant we can eat the fruits and vegetables of our choosing from supermarkets, but our traditional foods are something that is still determined by our weather, animal interaction and connection to fire which we talked about in term 3. Our clouds, night sky and sunlight also helping us predict the timing of events, travel and gatherings.

Students had the opportunity to explore the seasons in connection to plant growth and animal behaviours within and outside their home community and compare areas that experience dry conditions and monsoonal conditions. We looked at the seasonal calendar for the Wurundjeri people (the country that Worawa is found in). We identified entering into the Poorneet (Tadpole) Season and Buath Garru (flowering grasses). We used the flowering of the Coranderrk Bush as an indicator for when it would be time to prepare for our journey home and heading to the end of the Term.

In the Yarra Valley where Worawa is located, a well known season is in spring, when the wattles bloom, made famous by esteemed Aboriginal leader, William Barak.


This term in years 7 and 8, students continue with their Unit Changing Nations. Students further understand population densities around Australia and the Globe, investigating why larger populations live near coastlines within a country, or why fewer populations live in countries such as Russia and Greenland. Students engage in a case study task of ‘Dangerous Ways to School’ and compare their journey to school with the journey of a 13 years old Papua New Guinean girl, Ruth. As students analyse Ruth’s 7-day trek through the jungle to boarding school, they find apparent differences, however, Ruth is embarking on a journey that requires great strength and bravery to leave her home, similar to what students may experience when they are leaving for boarding school. Additionally, Ruth is involved in cultural ceremonies before embarking on her journey, where she will eat lots of yummy traditional foods, dance and say prayer. Students write a comparative analysis of the case study, editing their own work and adding pictures where they see fit. The analysis entails an introduction to Papua New Guinea and Ruth, differences in their journeys, similarities in their journeys and a conclusion of personal opinion. The skills of understanding, analysing, comparing, writing and personal reflection are focused on throughout.

In years 9 and 10, students continue on their Unit of Geographies of Interconnection. Students learn how the world is connected through production, consumption and trade. Alongside, students understand the importance of ethics in production as they study the process of manufacturing a Nike shoe, creating a flowchart on where Nike shoes are made, the wages the labourers receive, how much the shoe sells for and who receives the largest percentage of money. Students draw conclusions on the importance of fair pay to all employees regardless of their geographic location, as well as the importance of companies such as Fairtrade. Next, students explore the means of how population-dense megacities provide housing and accommodation, focusing on the Hong Kong Cage Homes. Students design, sketch and label their own ‘tiny home’, ensuring each item within the one-bedroom home has a double use and is an essential item. Finally, students create a five-day itinerary for a country of their choice in Asia. Within this trip, students need to describe the locations of where they will go, sights and landmarks they will visit, traditional food they will eat, ceremonies and important dates to the country and any customs they should be aware of. The skills of understanding, interpreting, special awareness, communication and personal opinion are focused on throughout. All students have thoroughly enjoyed their units and have approached all topics with curiosity, respect and engagement.

Download Term 4 Newsletter 2020

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