Students take up the challenge of reconciliation

A shared history of displacement helps Bossley Park Public students empathise with the experiences of our First Nations people.

Image: Acknowledgement: Students at Bossley Park worked on an Acknowledgement of Country in Arabic to share with the school for Reconciliation Week.

Some of our newest Australians have embraced learning about the First Australians as part of Bossley Park Public School’s Reconciliation Week activities.

The school, which has just two Aboriginal students amid a student population that is 88 per cent from non-English speaking backgrounds, celebrated National Reconciliation Week on Wednesday with a special assembly taking place to coincide with National Sorry Day.

The assembly included a video of the students singing the national anthem in Darug and Arabic students delivering the school’s Acknowledgement of Country in Arabic.

School principal Tracey Betts said although the school had few Aboriginal students it was still important to “face the truth” of Australian history to “build healthier, respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.

Mrs Betts, who only confirmed she was Aboriginal in her 20s, used the assembly to share her story of growing up not knowing her own background.

“Our (non-English-speaking background) community can really understand and empathise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because they have been displaced from their war-torn countries,” she said.

“Because of that a lot of the children here have lost that connection to their language and aspects of their culture.”

In the lead-up to the special assembly each learning stage at Bossley Park was asked to complete, over a five-day period, five National Reconciliation Wee​k challenges as a class.

This was to support the 2021 National Reconciliation Week theme, 'More than a word. Reconciliation Takes Action'.

The challenges included activities to learn about First Nations shared histories, cultures and achievements.

Students listened to stories, viewed and discussed films, learned more about Sorry Day and the Cabrogal clan of the Darug nation - the traditional custodians of the land on which the school is located.

They also participated in yarning circles, played games and sang songs in Darug, learned how to differentiate between a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country and deconstructed the school's mural by identifying symbols of significance.

After completing the challenges, each class developed a class "pledge" of what action they would take to achieve reconciliation and shared those pledges at today’s assembly.

Mrs Betts said the pledges would be displayed around the school as a constant reminder of the school’s collaborative actions towards reconciliation.

She also paid tribute to the work of the school's Aboriginal education team, Danielle Tran, Siba Sadek and Fiona Zammit, for their work in the lead-up to the celebration.

The reconciliation assembly also featured the school choir who were pre-recorded (due to COVID-19 guidelines) singing the National Anthem in Darug.

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