Students say YES to a sustainable Australia
08 Nov 2023
Thousands of young Western Sydney students have declared a resounding ‘YES’ to ensuring a sustainable Australia for all after a successful three-day Youth Eco Summit at Sydney Olympic Park.
Now in its 13th year, the Youth Eco Summit, or YES as it is commonly known, is one of the biggest youth events of the year and brings together Catholic, independent and public school students from across Sydney to learn about Indigenous culture and all aspects of sustainability.
“I think for Aboriginal people, it's very important for us to listen to our Elders so we have the knowledge and for non-Indigenous people, it's very important to know the history of the places that they live on and how to take care of Country,” said Tataya Curry-Jones, Youth Ambassador and Year 11 student at St John Paul II Catholic College Schofields & Nirimba.
“To see them live, breathe and embrace culture, that has to be the number one memory for me this year,” said Ayoola Shogunle, a Youth Officer with the Jarara Cultural Centre. “Spending time with Elders and everyone listening and being respectful.”
This year’s event attracted more than 30 providers who ran hands-on workshops, fun interactive activities and large-scale stage shows.
Led by 30 Murama Youth Ambassadors from Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (CSPD) schools, the students took part in art workshops, traditional games, didjeridoo and dance, weaving, cultural walks and learnt about traditional tools and technologies.
“Students work through a program where they connect to their identity, their culture, and learn wonderful techniques, whether it's through traditional dance, weaving, tools and technology and games,” said Julie Waddell, Jarara Cultural Centre Lead. “My heart is full with pride for the growth and development of our young Youth Ambassadors and the students they’re supporting.”
“I love teaching students about Aboriginal tools and technology, whether they're being tested on it or just want to know,” said Sidney Nolad, a Youth Ambassador and Year 7 student at Nagle College Blacktown. “I'm really proud of our culture and to share what I know. This information gets shared on and on, including to many people who might not know about it, like family members or friends.”
“A lot of the younger kids learn a lot from us,” added Meghan Lynch, another Youth Ambassador and Year 10 student at St John Paul II Catholic College Schofields & Nirimba. “And I felt like they enjoyed it as well.”
The Eco Youth Summit enabled young people to explore what sustainability looks like, how it plays out in reality and lessons they can take back to their families and local communities.
“A key part of Murama is supporting independence among each participant,” said Murama Coordinator Dr John Hunter (Uncle John). “And also interdependence where they support each other through a system of kinship and a network that supports the whole community. They become mentors and teachers to all the other students in our school communities.”
The event also included some spectacular performances by renowned Far North Queensland dance group Miriki Performing Arts and NAISDA Dance College, Australia’s premier Indigenous training college.
The Miriki team guided students through various dance sessions across the two days and also performed their amazing Gulgi-barra dance at the main closing ceremony on Thursday evening in front of hundreds of guests. Gulgi-barra (meaning Sand People) pays tribute to the ancient Gilgi-barra clan from Far North Queensland.
"The dancing was really amazing," said Kaillan, Xavier College student and Murama Youth Ambassador. "It's very important because you get to feel the power with each step and each clap and you can feel the vibrations of the didgeridoo. All of it, you can really feel it in your soul and it was really empowering.”
“I've really enjoyed seeing students grow in their cultural practice, especially the students who performed on the dance circle for our Acknowledgement of Country,” said CAPTIVATE Dance Teacher Melinda Omokaro. CAPTIVATE is CSPD’s creative and performing arts program.
Students and teachers got to explore a variety of presentations and enjoy interactive activities with providers spread out over the Newington Armoury precinct. They included Murama Indigenous Youth, NRMA, Sydney Zoo, Bingo Industries, Greater Western Sydney Giants, Cricket NSW, City of Parramatta, Qudos Bank Arena, Create NSW, Taronga Zoo, Australian Museum, Birdlife Australia, Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre, Greater Sydney Parklands, Sydney Water and many more.
27 Nov 2023
STUDENT LEADERS GATHERING Last week, our Student Leaders attended the Student Leaders Gathering for Marist schools. The theme of the Retreat was 'First Light - Revealing the Spirit', and our student leaders emerged as graceful and shining ambassadors of our school. Through collaboration with other Marist schools and moving experiences of Christian liturgy, Sarah, Matilda, Emily, Daniela, and Christina connected with their own inner light. They were inspired by the way in which the Australian Marist Solidarity organisation brings hope to the lives of those who have been denied the light of education in the Asia-Pacific region. The retreat served to form compassionate leaders who, inspired by collaboration and nourished by faith, strengthened their commitment to taking their place as global citizens and beacons for positive change within our Cerdon College Community.
27 Nov 2023
Cancer Awareness Day🎗️ The vibrant Cerdon community came together on November 24th to honor Cancer Awareness Day, a heartfelt occasion dedicated to commemorating the resilience of those in our midst who have bravely faced the challenges of cancer. This special day served as a dual-purpose event, aiming to not only raise awareness about the impact of cancer but also to generate funds for diverse cancer research charities. Our collective efforts aspire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of many, contributing to the ongoing pursuit of a cancer-free future. As a powerful symbol of unity and support, community members dressed themselves in hues of pink and purple, creating a visually striking display of solidarity. This colourful gesture underscored our commitment to standing together, fostering an environment of encouragement and hope for those affected by cancer.
24 Nov 2023
Cerdon College hosted several primary school students who participated in the Inquisitive Minds Mathematics Talented Day for primary schools. This initiative celebrates maths by engaging students in fun and enriching activities that challenge their thinking! It was a really great day, made possible by the efforts of some of our fantastic service leaders! Thank you to everyone who supported this initiative.
24 Nov 2023
Last night, we had the Year 12 Art Mentor Night run by artist Johnny Romeo. Students selected a mentor (teacher, parent, older figure) that will be a sounding board through their HSC Body of Work journey and last night, they participated in a feedback session where each mentor spoke to each student there to gain more ideas and insight on the concept they developed at the previous HSC ideas workshop. It was an amazing night, which was enriching for both students and mentors! Mentors were impressed with the ideas the new Year 12s had already developed, and we look forward to seeing this now grow into a strong Body of Work.
21 Nov 2023
Last Thursday's excursion to the Multiplex site at the new Pyrmont Fish Markets provided an insight into how a large construction project is designed, planned and managed to meet strict standards and guidelines. One of the presenters was a former student, Alicia Kotsiopoulos, who graduated in 2015 and is now a structural engineer working at a consultancy firm. This provided a great source of inspiration for our students. A big thank you to Nalisa for accompanying them.