Students inspire and enlighten through storytelling

07 December 2021

Six students from Aranmore Catholic College’s Intensive English Centre (IEC) recently shared stories with a live audience, after developing their storytelling skills through a program with Perth ogranisation, the Centre for Stories. 

Yordanos, Haider, Mahdia, Mayada, Tedros and Salih are all students in the College’s IEC who have come from backgrounds where English is not the primary language spoken.

As part of the Centre’s youth storytelling program, they participated in ten weekly workshops within a group of 30 students from the IEC, where they were supported to craft an oral story of their choosing – either personal accounts from their lives, or fictional tales.

The six students then participated in additional one-on-one mentoring sessions to prepare them for the special live performance at the Centre for Stories

Their stories were spoken in English, in a room full of peers, mentors and guests.

From anticipating the arrival of a new sibling, to reuniting with a father whose face wasn’t recognisable because it had been so long since the family were all together, the stories demonstrated the extraordinary resilience, joy and emotional depth of the students, as well as their new mastery of the art of storytelling.

Program Mentor, Jay, said it was humbling to see the students working throughout the program and delivering the stories they had worked on. 

“Sharing the experience of marginalised groups is so important… because recognising our differences builds our collective identity,” he said. 

Centre for Stories Producer and Events Coordinator, Claudia Mancini, said it was a privilege to work with the group of students.

“They demonstrated great courage, determination and bravery,” she said.

“It is essential that we create opportunities for young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to share stories – not just stories about being refugees or migrants, but stories that celebrate all aspects of their identities,”

Aranmore Catholic College, and its IEC, serves a culturally and linguistically diverse student body, with students from more than 60 nationalities a part of the College community. 

The Centre for Stories uses storytelling to grow skills and confidence, inspire understanding and drive social change, with a focus on inclusion and creating opportunities for the under-represented in the WA creative community, making it an organisation uniquely suited to partnering with the College through its youth storytelling program. 

The delivery of the program at the College was funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Lotterywest, and Centre for Stories’ Story Supporters.

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