Inverell High’s Indigenous girls explored their cultural identities at the school’s NAIDOC assembly last week.
Inspired by the film The Sapphires, which follows the adventures of a female Indigenous singing group, the girls have begun a small choir of their own. They harmonised sweetly to one of the film’s famous Aboriginal songs, and performed Dancing in The Sky to honour the life of a local woman who has passed away.
The girls said the singing group gave them a strong sens of wellbeing and belonging, and that they had a great feeling of pride when they sang to the school.
The group came together to create a memorable banner focusing on the theme ‘Because of her, we can’. Three silhouettes of differently shaped women draw the the eye, with circles representing the times women sit down together, and a spray of purple, yellow and white dots indicating their paths.
“The theme is really important to the girls because they’re always thinking about their elders and the women that have gone before them and taught them so much, and their grandmas and their mums who are really strong people in the community,” Aboriginal students officer Jenny Donnelly said.
The girls will hold the banner as they march through Inverell’s streets on Friday for the town’s NAIDOC march.
The school honoured its Indigenous students with a series of awards focusing on academic achievements, attitude, community service and citizenship. Linda Connors gave the Welcome to Country and Estelle Ellis and Lyn Lackay presented awards.
Ruben Tully was selected as the most outstanding junior student, receiving the deputy principal’s award.
Principal Penny Colley was unable to split her vote for the most outstanding junior student, which was awarded to both Alex Jeffery and Tyler Kent.
She spoke on valuable contributions made to the school by women, including Cath Jeffery, Adele Adams and Ms Donnelly.
Carol Green, from the Department of Education’s district office, also honoured Ms Donnelly for supporting Inverell’s Aboriginal students for over 19 years as she spoke about the women students would remember when they said ‘Because of her, I can’.