Ongoing relationship is helping to change students’ perceptions

Today we said goodbye to 12 enthusiastic, deep thinking students from Aquinas College in Perth who were accompanied by 4 of their teachers, and bus driver Dan. For many years now a visit to Jarlmadangah has formed part of an Aquinas College journey to the Kimberley through by local Broome operator Kimberley Wild. Some of the group were lucky enough to be returning for their second or third visit.

Time in Jarlmadangah was spent camping at Mount Anderson station participating in a balance of cultural, nature based and community focused activities. This year the students spent their community activity time cleaning the ceiling and painting our community centre in a brilliant shade of ochre. The place looks brand new! As a small community having a group of young, willing and eager hands to help around the place is a blessing and we are extremely grateful.

Guided by TJ, our resident guide, the group experienced a camel trek to Mount Anderson water hole, a visit to Lynungoodjung cave, climb to the top of Mount Anderson, fishing at the boundary fence, a visit and chat at the culture centre and meeting some of the old faces of the community.

Before the trip, each of the students submitted a comprehensive application with two letters of commendation to participate on the journey north to the Kimberley. Their applications had to express what they thoughts they would get out of the journey, why they would like to participate and their prior knowledge of aboriginal culture.

While I normally slink around behind the scenes, I got the opportunity to talk briefly chat to Chad (15, grade 10), Jordan (15, grade 10), Mitchell (15, grade 10) and Isaac (16, grade 11) – pictured above, to see what they thought of their experience.

All of the boys said that the trip exceeded any expectations that they had. ‘We saw a different way of living, stuff that we have never experienced before’ said Chad. ‘It is different to the city, good to get out in the bush and see something unique.’ said Jordan.

Isaac, who would like to go on and study journalism, was on his second trip after also visiting in 2013, felt lucky to be able to come again.

When asked whether the trip will influenced their future they all agreed that it made them think about their careers and where they may live. Overwhelmingly, however, the biggest impact has been how they view aboriginal people. They felt the media that they saw in Perth gave them a negative perception, however this trip has now changed this view for the positive.

Written by Jessie Stanley, Jarlmadangah resident and KDAT Business Manager

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