Award winners: CEWA schools build understanding of Aboriginal histories and cultures

28 November 2018

Three CEWA schools were recognised by the Western Australian Government yesterday for their efforts to increase student understanding of Aboriginal cultures.

More than 600 WA schools completed PALS (Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing) projects in 2018, and Newman College, Mater Dei College and St Maria Goretti’s Catholic School were among a select few honoured in six categories at an awards ceremony held at Perth’s Yagan Square.

An initiative of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, PALS showcases projects promoting reconciliation in schools’ local communities, and is based upon the core attributes of:

Partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people; Acceptance of difference as unique and to be respected; Learning more about ourselves and each other; and Sharing a common journey along the path of healing and reconciliation towards a more harmonious and optimistic future.

Newman College received the Arts and Culture award for ‘Koort Kadadjiny’, an original piece of Epic Theatre devised by arts students in years 7 to 12.

Echoing the Marist theme of Hope for 2018, the performance centred on heart learning (Koort Kadadjiny Kadidjiny) and hearing voices rather than silencing voices as essential for reconciliation.

“Not only did this piece educate the audience on Aboriginal history, it educated and enlightened me, this education is something for all of us to remember and to be proud of,” year 11 performer Ethan Doran said.

The PALS Student Engagement and Community Participation Award was presented to Mater Dei College for the Whadjuk Gift project.

Initiated by teacher Toby Hurd, the Whadjuk Gift project brought 340 Year 5 students from Catholic primary schools to spent a day at the College discovering Aboriginal cultures and participating in sporting activities.

The students wore tee-shirts they had designed to represent 14 Aboriginal nations.

Students then moved through the College grounds, escorted by Mater Dei College student leaders, to view a 3m tall mural of Eddie Mabo and learn about his story.

St Maria Goretti’s Catholic School was the runner up in the PALS Digital Technology category for a their video created with its pre-primary students, with the 2018 NAIDOC Week theme ‘Because of Her, We Can!’, celebrating the “women who teach us things”.

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