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Katherine High School camp builds life skills for Indigenous students

Callan Morse -

A group of Indigenous Year 9 and 10 students from Katherine High School have travelled to Darwin to develop their leadership skills and self-confidence.

The camp, which was funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s Local Investment Fund, saw 17 First Nations students participate in a week-long adventure, providing them with a series of experiences so they could build relationships with their peers outside of school.

Head of Campus at Katherine High School, Anna Benson, said the federal government grant allowed the school to fully fund the students’ attendance.

“The goal was to get all our First Nations students from Katherine, Binjari, Rockhole, Kalano communities and Fordimail and Callistemon Hostels to attend a Year Level Camp to create cohesion and build a strong positive culture amongst Grade 9 and 10 cohorts,” Ms Benson said.

She said the experience resulted in a positive cultural change at Katherine High School.

“Year 9 school attendance has improved as a result of the camp,” Ms Benson said.

“It was amazing seeing our young people connect with one another and these relationships have flourished back at school.

“This camp gave many of our young people an opportunity to experience activities that they have never done, and we’re seeing the difference that can make.”

Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication health and wellbeing were focused on at the camp, with the itinerary also including leisure activities such as a jumping crocodile cruise, a day trip to Litchfield National Park, a visit to an aqua park, ten pin bowling and laser tag.

Daena, a Year 9 Katherine High School student said a highlight of the camp was visiting the renowned Litchfield National Park.

“On the second day, we all went to a water fall in Litchfield National Park called Wangi Falls,” she said.

“Me and Tio went for a hike around while the other kids went swimming. When we came back from the walk, our legs were shaking we couldn’t even stand up.”

Following the camp, Ms Benson commended students on the way the conducted themselves on the trip.

‘I was really proud of their inquisitiveness. We were lucky enough to see an Aboriginal Art Expo where three of our young people found family who had entered pieces,” she said

“It was also wonderful to experience a Welcome to Country from Larrakia Nation.

“This gave the young people a deep understanding of the land we were meeting on.”

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