By Amelia Martin
‘You may not always get it right the first time and that’s okay’, was the message delivered at the Catholic Education Office Sydney’s Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Award ceremony.
The achievements of 40 students were acknowledged in front of family, friends and carers during the ceremony held at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College, Burwood on August 11.
Clarence Slockee, an Aboriginal educator and performer from the Bundjalung tribe’s Mindjingbal clan, gave a key note address at the event. He spoke passionately about the value of education and emphasised the opportunities that a good education can bring.
Education Officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Elizabeth Burke, said the ceremony provided a chance to acknowledge the work done by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers within schools, and the CEO’s commitment to families with Indigenous heritage.
“These awards recognised not only the huge accomplishments of the students, but also of the families and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” said Elizabeth Burke, Education Officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.
Each student received a certificate and individual trophy, as well as a citation from their school which highlighted their strengths, contributions to college culture, and leadership. Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools Dr Dan White thanked the families of the students and recognised the role that they had played in the students’ success.
Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood students and singer Bella Forti, a member of the Sydney Catholic Schools Creative and Performing Arts program, performed at the ceremony. Ms Burke said they provided a great legacy for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the area of performing arts.