Aim

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Department at Holy Spirit College offers support, cultural awareness and a range of opportunities and experiences for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison, Ms Kelli Grose and the Aboriginal Education Assistant, Miss Rheanna Lotter work in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, students, parents and staff at the College to deepen and enhance the understanding of both the Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Island Culture.

Support

PLP’s: Personalised Learning Plans are completed by students and their families on a semester basis. The purpose of these plans is for the student to set goals for their own learning and to identify for themselves their strengths and areas in which they believe they could improve, in order to stay engaged in their learning. Using the information provided, Miss Lotter and Ms Grose work on assisting students with their goals in a supportive and holistic manner.

Mentoring

AIME: Holy Spirit College works closely with AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) an educational program that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to succeed during and after school.

By matching our students with university student mentors, AIME successfully supports the students to finish high school. AIME mentors regularly visit our school and students also participate in AIME days, usually at the UOW with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from the Illawarra and Macarthur regions.

Educational Opportunities

SCHOLARSHIPS: There are a number of scholarships available to our students (years 7 – 12) in science, engineering, teaching to name a few. In 2018 Jed Chandler (yr 8) was awarded a scholarship to attend the Science and Engineering Program at UNSW.

Reconciliation

SEA OF HANDS: This is a recurring event at the College which began in 2011. From 2011 onwards, each student (yr7 -12) has designed a hand to display, showing solidarity and a united support of Reconciliation.

RECONCILIATION WALK: This year more than 2000 students and 400 community members gathered at Holy Spirit College to Walk for Reconciliation. The event was run by Bellambi Public School to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.

Ceremonies and Awards

SMOKING CEREMONY:

Ms Grose and Miss Lotter participated in a smoking ceremony led by Aunty Wendy at the “Reconciliation: Everyone’s Business” two day conference in the Southern Highlands. A smoking ceremony is an ancient Aboriginal custom in that involves burning native plants to produce much smoke.The smoke has the ability to ward off evil spirits and has cleansing properties making a pathway for a brighter and happier future.

DEADLY AWARDS: Holy Spirit College are also involved in the “Deadly Awards,” where students are recognised for their outstanding commitment within the year, to improve in a range of areas from attendance, community involvement, entertainment, sport and music and show a general positive attitude towards their culture, education and learning.

Holy Spirit College award winners for 2018 were: Deacan Scott (yr7) Aston Smith(yr7) Joshua Scott (yr12) Sarah Hanlon (y12) and Jenna Rose (yr12)

Leaders

SENIOR LEADERS: Our senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders for 2019 are Bradley Bower and Emily Lord. These students have shown a commitment to and are passionate about their cultural heritage.

Uncle Kev and Ms Grose

Funding Grant

CEO: We are extremely lucky at Holy Spirit College to receive a grant from the CEO in Wollongong to use towards enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. This year our most prized purchase was a musical package from “Gugula Dreaming” in Queensland. All instruments were handmade and painted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We received a didgeridoo, clapsticks, boomerangs, a warup (Island drum), kulaps (seed rattle) and a marap (clapper). These instruments will be utilised in our 2019 Cultural Program and at other school and cultural events throughout the year.

2019 Cultural Program

NEW: In 2019 year we will commence a new Cultural Learning Program within the College for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The program will involve the students learning how to weave and play the didgeridoo (boys). Singing traditional songs and learning traditional dance will also be offered for interested students, further embracing the heritage and culture of the traditional custodians of this land.

Visitors to Holy Spirit College

UNCLE KEVIN BUTLER: Kevin spends several days at Holy Spirit College each week, working alongside students improving their painting and knowledge of skills in Aboriginal Art. Students enjoy having Uncle Kev as a mentor and have produced some wonderful artwork with his knowledge and guidance.

© Artwork by Aboriginal Artist – Uncle Kev Butler

AUNTY WENDY LOTTER: All year 7 students at the College participated in the “Platypus Dreamin” Program celebrating Aboriginal culture through the support of Aunty Wendy Lotter. The program was run over two days and introduced students to bush medicine, dreamtime stories, ochre and other items of cultural importance.