Brisbane Grammar School has made a commitment to improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our partnership with the Cape York Leadership Program now stretches back 14 years and has seen many wonderful boys graduate from the School.
The BGS Closing the Gap Committee, started in 2007, has created a powerful legacy and has more than 30 members in 2018. We have also implemented a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that provides a framework allowing us to be more purposeful and connected when attempting to close the gap.
BGS recognised the 2018 National Close the Gap Day at assembly today with powerful addresses from Year 12 student Kade Wallace and his father Paul, both proud Guugu Yimidhirr men from Hopevale on the Cape York Peninsula.
Kade, who boards at BGS, dedicated his speech to his father and the people from the communities of Hopevale and surrounding lands. He spoke passionately about his own community and identified improvements but said there was still further to go to close the gap. Kade reflected on his personal journey and paid tribute to those who had given him the opportunities to attend the School.
The following is an excerpt from Kade’s address:
As I enter my final year here at BGS, I’d like to fill you in on my journey so far from Hopevale to Brisbane, and how funding made available through agencies such as the Cape York Leadership Program, have given me the opportunity to experience an education far beyond my dreams.
In the small community of Hopevale, education starts at prep and takes you through to Year 6; after that you leave for either Cooktown, Cairns or Townsville and Brisbane. My family were very keen for me to have an education that would take me somewhere and show me where I could go with my life. This is happening for me and I now realise the importance of why I am here.
Education is lifelong, I know that when I finish here at BGS that my learning will continue and I will have opportunities to go on and choose a career that will best suit me. I hope that while I have been a student here at BGS that I have been able to educate many of you about our people and our community, our way of life and our fight for better education and health outcomes. I recognise the effort that has been shown with raising awareness about Indigenous Health and Education concerns and hope that BGS will continue to support these programs.
To my family I hope that I have made you proud, I know I stand proud as a Guugu Yimidhirr man from the Cape, who through persistence and support from all of you, have shown me that having an education isn’t just about the books and the subjects, it’s about the ability to open your mind to things you may not have ever seen before and embracing your differences and moving forward to make a change.
I thank you for letting me share just a little about myself and the importance of continuing to close the gap.