Learning comes full circle at Moruya

A two-year project to build a cultural learning space has helped bond the school community as Kerrie O’Connor find out.

Image: Opening ceremony: Moruya High School students dance at the new yarning ciricle.

It’s a place to yarn, dance and learn – and the students who helped create it couldn’t be prouder.

From construction students to traditional dancers, everyone is celebrating their contributions to a cultural learning centre under the trees at Moruya High School.

The Far South Coast school now has yarning and dancing circles, a fire pit, a classroom without walls and a revamped bush tucker garden.

Auntie Lisa Rowley said she could feel the pride of Indigenous students growing as they embraced their culture.

“The boys in Year 10 are really starting to shine and thrive,” the Aboriginal Education Officer said.

“Kids need a sense of belonging. When they have something they feel connected to, everything else falls into place.”

The two-year project culminated in a dance and smoking ceremony at the start of the month and Auntie Lisa said she still got “goosebumps” thinking about it.

“Our boys love to do traditional dance,” she said.

“You just feel the energy, the pride coming off them.”

Girls too are learning to be “a future leader in women’s business”.

The project began with Auntie Lisa and Auntie Sarah Moreton reclaiming an overgrown bush tucker garden.

Aboriginal Education Coordinator Daniel Edwards recruited his Year 11 and 12 Certificate Two Construction students.

“I got my class in there to rip it apart and put it back together,” he said.

Then PDEHP teacher Dylan Hunt wanted a dilapidated pergola replaced with an outdoor classroom.

“The class put our heads together and we spent a few months tearing apart the old structure and rebuilding it,” Mr Edwards said. “Dylan and Auntie Lisa had a vision and we supported them.”

Students helped place the rocks in the yarning circle and concrete the welcome sign.

They installed park benches for the garden and other seating.

“It is such a beautiful space,” Mr Edwards said.

“I have never seen anything like it, and I am sure a lot of schools will be saying ‘wow!’ ”

Mr Hunt, himself a Moruya High School graduate, coordinates programs for wellbeing and positive behaviour for learning.

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