The Importance of Reconciliation
Brisbane Grammar School acknowledged National Sorry Day at Senior School assembly today, ahead of National Reconciliation Week next week. The assembly provided an opportunity for Year 10 student Kieron Saunders to tell his personal story. This was followed by an Indigenous dance.
Kieron (pictured in centre below) is a Woopabarra man from Cooktown in North Queensland who spoke passionately about his family’s connection to the Stolen Generations. He revealed the pain and discrimination felt by his family in the past but was positive about the future, including the work being done by the Closing the Gap committee at BGS.
Last year the School launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan, a business plan that documents what BGS commits to do to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. This plan enables BGS to commit to implementing and measuring practical actions that build respectful relationships and create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It effectively enables the School to be more purposeful and connected when attempting to Close the Gap.
BGS’ journey to reconciliation began in 2004 with our friendship with the Cape York Leaders Program. Since then we have established a variety of Indigenous connections and friendships; along with programs and committees.
The relationship between BGS and the Lady Cilento Indigenous Education Unit sees our boys regularly visiting Lady Cilento Hospital to assist Indigenous patients. Our friendship with Hope Vale State School has seen our students visiting the school in north Queensland and Hope Vale students visiting BGS.
We have also established a growing number of programs that benefit our Indigenous students, but also serve to educate all our students. This includes an Indigenous program for all Year 7 students at the BGS Outdoor Education Centre. We have Indigenous leadership camps and a strong focus on Indigenous programs and support in our boarding house.
BGS staff are also being educated on the importance of reconciliation. This includes regular visits from Indigenous education expert David Spillman, who spent many years living in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
It has been and will continue to be a team effort in continuing our progress towards Closing the Gap, but I’d like to acknowledge Mr Mark Brusasco and former Boarding Head of Residence Damon Emtage for their instrumental work in laying the platform for the School’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
By David Carroll | Deputy Headmaster - Students