Reconciliation Day

The theme for the 2017 Justice and Democracy Seminar Day was Reconciliation. This year marked the 50 year anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when 90% of Australian voters said ‘YES’ for Aboriginal people  to be counted in the census. Students from several Kildare Ministries school came together to learn about Reconciliation. Our day began with a prayer and an acknowledgement of country before our first guest speaker, Mark Clarke, Executive Officer, Office for Justice and Peace, asked everyone to take off a shoe and walk around the room. Students were quick to put their shoe back on, even though they were never instructed to do so. The reason for this was that they were “uncomfortable” with only one shoe and felt the need to rectify the situation. “Aha!” Mark said, and he proceeded to tell his audience of the former and current treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which made us all very uncomfortable and inspired to take action for change.

 

Delsie Lillyst (Gunditjmara and Bunitj), Catholic Education Melbourne, held an engaging workshop which the students found confronting and inspiring. They formed their own tribal groups, made their own flags and dances, only to have all their hard work destroyed. As the students tried to repair the torn pieces of paper flags they realised that what they had would never be the same.

 

Luckily, lunchtime arrived to rejuvenate saddened spirits and allow everyone time to reflect and enjoy a delicious meal, prepared by Killester’s VET Hospitality students. The mood was quick to pick up, with the help of some live music.

 

Refuelled and determined to “take the next steps” the students brainstormed and shared their plans for Reconciliation week back at their own schools. Their passion for the cause shone through and there was no doubt that they would be role model advocates among their peers.

 

Thank you to the Year 11 and 12 Justice and Democracy students who spend countless lunchtimes to organise this important day. Thank you to all involved who helped make this day a success.

Staff Reflection

Penny Curtis (Killester Staff Member)

 

Two years ago, my then nine year old daughter, went on the MOST amazing night of her life – A Taylor Swift concert.  She went with one adult and six friends.  The joy I saw on her face when she got home, the consistent unrelenting five day rant about how amazing the concert was, truly made me so happy, knowing she had an experience any little girl or teenager would dare to dream of.

 

Fast forward two years, and there were many young, excited, ecstatic girls, going to an Ariana Grande concert the other night.  Many, were able to go home to ‘beam’ to their parents, family or friends about their unbelievable experience.  Respectfully and extremely sorrowfully, many young girls haven’t had the chance to ‘blab’ or ‘gloat’ about their night.  They are injured or no longer with us.

 

A young Yr7 Killester girl mentioned to me yesterday, that she is considering NOT going to Ariana Grande’s concert in September now, as she is so very worried she will not be safe.

 

That breaks my heart.  Quietly, the terrorists are creeping their way into our innocent, young, hopeful community.  And it’s just not fair!!!!

 

In this year of ‘Encourage the Courage’, we need to remind our young, enthusiastic community, that we ALL have a place to exist. That we all have a right to express our feelings, our love of and for our interests. The right to be independent and free to explore life, in the measure that best suits ‘US’ whether it be exploring music, dance, drama, literature, science, maths, religion, each other.

 

May we take this time to reassure our young ladies and each other that together we are strong.  Not only in ourselves, but super strong as a Killester community.

 

Let us as teachers and mentors reassure our beautiful students, that they are safe and valued. But let us also reassure them that together we can try to continue (with the rest of the world) to educate each and every one of our girls and our community, that there is very LITTLE tolerance for severe violence, exclusion and impatience in any aspect of our existence.

Lucy Paterson – View From The Inside

 

In 2016, while she was in Year 10, Lucy Paterson took out first place in the Australian Children’s Music Foundation’s national song writing contest. Lucy recorded her song “View From The Inside” earlier in the year and released it on iTunes.

As winner of the year 9/10 category, Lucy was awarded a substantial cash prize which will go towards recording some more of her original songs.

A passionate musician, Lucy completed her grade 8 on violin in the same year, as well as playing the lead role in Killester’s production of “Annie.”  Lucy is currently studying VCE music performance and planning to become a music therapist.

Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project

 

Palm Sunday on a balmy afternoon

 

Protests can be intimidating, especially if you have never been to one before. Four of our students, Rosemary, Jennifer, Joanna and Christina were courageous enough to join the Justice and Democracy staff to show support for refugees and asylum seekers.

 

As we travelled into the Palm Sunday rally on the train, we were a little disheartened that the weather wasn’t in our favour, as we thought such weather would affect the turnout for the day. The news of the shaky refugee – US deal had created further uncertainty for the people in offshore detention and for those who were supporting them.  A good show of numbers was important for this event.  

 

As we waited at our meeting point at Melbourne Central, our optimism returned, as we watched a flood of spirited people making their way to the frontline of the protest at the State Library. Purple clad grandmothers (Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children), teenagers and children with home-made placards, people from the country and many more passionate advocates, made their way despite the cold, rainy Sunday. We were inspired by their passion for this cause.

 

We joined a shivering crowd of people including our friends from BASP and other schools, including Kilbreda. Just being surrounded with fellow supporters rejuvenated our sense of purpose. The students were enlightened by the many speeches from refugees and advocates alike.

 

“Hearing speeches from the refugees, sharing their stories opened up our eyes to the countless lives of those who are left unknowing and lost in detention centres as well as the endless families that are separated from each other,” Rosemary said.

 

One of the speeches was by a representative from RISE (Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees). She spoke very passionately about the lack of inclusion when advocates create organisations and events with little or no collaboration with refugees and ex-detainees themselves, who are at the heart of this issue. This is an example of where subsidiarity needs to be put in practice and we must all ask ourselves “Who’s going to benefit?” when taking action for social justice.

 

We heard many stories of suffering and bravery. A nurse who worked on Nauru told us of the squalid conditions people are living in and the absence of adequate health care. “These people are being mentally tortured by our government,” she said.

As a nurse, she has a duty of care and must do no harm. As teachers, our responsibility is to educate and inspire. We have the opportunity to help young people grow and learn. Teachers are also under obligation to protect children and report abuse. This is the core of our profession and the core of humanity.

When the speeches were over we walked through the streets of Melbourne

in an expression of solidarity with people in detention.  It felt good to be taking some form of action even if it was only to raise awareness of this issue.

 

Killester is a school that benefits from diversity and I am proud to belong to a place that welcomes all, including the most vulnerable. Our values of Strength and Kindliness run strong in our students and staff – and Australia, right now, could truly benefit from these values.

As a teacher and a human being I cannot ignore the suffering of other people, particularly young people who, in different circumstances, could be students in my classroom. They would come to school, chat at lunchtimes and put off their homework and grow and learn, just like many of Killester’s students.

 

This year is the year of courage. Our students grow in strength and kindliness, while young refugees have no such education or nurturing. We must have the courage to talk about this among ourselves and to those who don’t want to listen.

The Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP) website has resources and information, so let us read and talk about it. The Killester community looks out for each other, and I believe we can extend this kindness to our fellow students who cannot be learning with us. Give hope to each other and keep talking. Even one conversation can be a snowflake in an avalanche.

 

 

By Maree Edwards and Jess Hackett

Harmony Day 2017

A new event that has become really popular among the students at Killester is Harmony Day. Harmony Day is a day in which students celebrate different cultures by wearing the traditional clothing of their country to school. This day involves Jam Sessions, photos and traditional foods which is all organised by the student leaders. With Harmony Day we hope that students to show pride, confidence and respect for the cultural diversity in our school.