Photo: Aaliyah, Tia, Jasniah and Quenlyn from Sacred Heart School Beagle Bay
In late October, students from Sacred Heart School Beagle Bay stayed at the NCIE for the school’s third Deadly Leaders Youth Camp. Beagle Bay is a remote community with a population of about 350 people, and is 4 hours’ drive north of Broome in Western Australia. The camp takes place every 2 years, and is a way to promote leadership and start conversations about the opportunities that exist in big cities for students in Years 5-8.
Making the trip happen
While Sydney Catholic Schools have been a huge source of funding for the trip and students’ families contributed money, widespread community efforts to raise funds helped enormously. Teachers from the school fundraised through their families, movie nights were organised for the community and secondary students taking food technology and woodwork classes also contributed their skills.
In the lead-up to the trip, food technology students organised pizza nights with home delivery to local families. These nights were positive for a number of reasons- money was raised for the camp, students developed skills in cooking and budgeting, and families were able to have a night away from the kitchen. Woodwork students crafted souvenirs from recycled timber which were then sold to the many tourists that pass through Beagle Bay each year. These grassroots efforts raised thousands of dollars.
From Beagle Bay to the big city
Sacred Heart teacher Rebecca Cox said “It was a big challenge to take 21 children out of their environment and putting them in something totally different to what they’re used to. It’s important that we’re giving them that opportunity to see what’s out there, what’s available for them if they move out of the community and further their education”. She believes that the experience has been really significant for the group, saying “in this last week some of them have really made big changes in their development. I’ve seen them stepping up, with the older kids taking responsibility to look after the little ones”.
During their time in Sydney, the group climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, went to surf school at Bondi Beach, visited Taronga Zoo and watched the Sydney Kings beat the Cairns Taipans in the NBL. They even made it down to Canberra for a day, where they visited Parliament, the War Memorial and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
All of the teachers agreed that the group adjusted really well to city life, and were quick to get the hang of catching all different types of transport- including trains, ferries, buses and planes. 13 year old Jasniah said “I’ve really enjoyed my time in Sydney, and would like to eventually live and work here to escape the heat of Beagle Bay”.
When asked how the group found staying at the NCIE group accommodation, Assistant Principal Amy Christophers said “We have loved it! The accommodation has worked out really well, the staff have been fantastic- they really went above and beyond for us in all aspects of our stay, and the kids have had the opportunity to speak with different Indigenous people who have been able to talk about their story and their country. Knowing that this Centre is for Indigenous excellence has been really uplifting and inspiring”.
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