A week to remember

A week to remember

Didgeridoo music at quad, special sporting jerseys, visits from an Aboriginal elder and an indigenous Christian leader, a video from sports star Davo Hickey, heartfelt speeches from indigenous students … Reconciliation Week at Trinity featured all of these and more.

The Preparatory School at Strathfield created a banner, stamped in ink with the imprint of every student’s hand and exhibited on the front of Llandilo advertising the School’s commitment to the Now More Than Ever theme.

PK planted a ‘Reconciliation Garden’ with indigenous plants, and teachers embarked on a “truth-telling” curriculum to ensure all students are taught about the impact of the Stolen Generations.

Quad addresses at Summer Hill appealed for the hand of friendship as well as open-mindedness to listen and learn from the past.

Taubman house vice-captain William Cicinelli (12Ta), a Biripi and Worimi man, said the best way to help was to make friends with indigenous people and try to understand the struggles they were still going through.

“In treaty-making, in truth-telling, in understanding our history, in education, and in tackling racism. We need connection. We need respect. We need action. And most importantly we need change to make inequality something of the past.”

Grayson Doig (11He), a Budawang man from the Yuin Nation, said National Sorry Day was a chance to be sorry with someone, rather than for them.

“I hope you take the opportunity to stand with someone, hear their story, learn from mistakes made towards them, and be part of a generation that embodies positive change.”

NBL basketballer Davo Hickey (2017) said in a special video message that younger generations were much better educated about racial issues, leading to more understanding and acceptance.

“Reconciliation Week is about education and making sure ignorance doesn’t win the battle. It’s a chance to talk about uncomfortable truths… That’s the only way to move forward.

“It’s about having voices heard that aren’t usually heard on a day-to-day basis.

“There’s no reason that people can’t come together.”

Former School rugby captain and current Randwick first grader Ky Willoughby (2020) said he felt honoured and privileged to present specially-designed Indigenous Round jerseys on quad to first team rugby, AFL, tennis, and volleyball players.

“I believe true reconciliation can only happen when we come together and celebrate Aboriginal history. By wearing these colours that’s what you are doing,” he told them.

He urged students to call out racism whenever they saw it and make an effort to understand Aboriginal culture, adding: “We are only a small percentage of the population and we can’t do this on our own.”

Aboriginal elder Michael West gave a Welcome To Country, saying last year’s failed constitutional referendum was not what the Aboriginal people wanted but “we are on the right path”.

“Our culture and psyche is also your culture and psyche. We want you to remain strong in your own cultural identity.

“It’s important we all work together for better outcomes.”

Acting Headmaster Brad Barr said Reconciliation Week “reminds us that we have to look back and acknowledge the wrongs of the past in order to move forward together”.

He reminded students of the week’s anniversaries – the 1967 referendum acknowledging indigenous Australians in the constitution, the 1992 Mabo decision and National Sorry Day.

Junior School Head Mark Dunn told students: “The events of this week remind us we are trying to live together and appreciate each other.

“They will help shape the way we think, act, and speak. They will help us understand where we came from and where we are going.”

Acting Deputy Headmaster – Summer Hill, John Allen, said: “It is what our students and staff take forward from this week, what we do next, that counts. I hope it will inspire us to learn and connect, to stand up and advocate, and more than ever to work together towards reconciliation.”

Christian indigenous advocate Brooke Prentis spoke with all year groups and summed up: “For me, reconciliation is not one week; reconciliation is my every day.”

Every teacher at the Prep School was given a copy of the Uluru declaration and guided on how to teach about the Stolen Generations in an age-appropriate way.

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