St Joseph's College is committed to the achievement of reconciliation, justice, equity, and healing through acknowledgement and practice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowing. Last Thursday the school, along with the four other Geelong Catholic Colleges, Scared Heart, Clonard, St Ignatius, Iona, participated in an Indigenous Recognition Day. We know that by partnering together our voices are louder and stronger. Each school hosted a variety of activities and events of their own to raise funds for the common cause of the ‘Opening the Doors Foundation’. The Foundation supports the extra costs associated with schooling for Aboriginal students around Victoria.

The day at our College was named Koling Wadda-ngal Day. Koling Wadda-ngal is the Wadawurrung way of saying, “walking together”. Students and staff were provided with indigenous coloured ribbons to wear on their school uniforms and during lunchtime there were performances from indigenous Australians on the Zampatti Oval scoreboard. The school community also had an opportunity to indulge in donuts (for $3). As a College community, we continue to strive to create an environment where we can walk alongside one another as brothers and sisters. Where all are given equal opportunity and our First Nation’s people are free from discrimination and disadvantage. To do so we must build cultural safety across our organisation, and respectfully embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into our practice, and recognise the traditions of the lands many thousands of years before us.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest surviving culture in the world. It is a heritage that has lived for 75 000 years. We respect their tenacity in the challenges that they continue to face. But it is now our student's turn to carry the flame. It is up to the new generation to change the world for the better. As a school community, we have to keep learning and understanding. We have to be active participants in the Reconciliation process. We have to continue celebrating Aboriginal culture. We have to call for inclusion and equality by standing up where there is wrong. We have to strive for diversity and unity. Together as Catholic secondary schools in Geelong, we walk as one with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in a spirit of hope and healing.

It was wonderful to see so many students actively participate, respect and acknowledge the reconciliation process by coming together at lunchtime at Zampatti oval, visiting our Reconciliation garden and support the ‘Opening the Doors Foundation’, where we raised over $630!

Koling Wadda-ngal, Let us walk together!