Maclean High students in traditional outfit as part of the River of Learning Celebration Day.
Maclean High students in traditional outfit as part of the River of Learning Celebration Day.

River of learning honours Aboriginal culture

THE tenth River of Learning Celebration Day was held at Maclean High School last month. Student art works were displayed at the Yamba Museum featuring the "River to the Sea" theme.

A smoking ceremony was conducted by Uncle Ron and Sam Kapeen and our Aboriginal dancers performed a cleansing dance. The celebrations commenced in the gym with Year 7 students participating in Aboriginal games. Each faculty had developed displays that contained the Yaegl perspective. Addresses were given by Uncle Ron, Greg Court, Rhonda Pitson, Kahluha Charlton and Joanne Jamie from Macquarie University. All speakers gave their perspective on the River of Learning program and how far we had all come in a decade.

Musical and dance items were outstanding throughout the ceremony. The music group sang the chorus line to I Am Australian in Yaygirr language which was breath-taking. Official guests enjoyed a luncheon catered for by Year 11 hospitality students featuring some local indigenous cuisine.

A thank you to the Elders: Uncle Ron, Aunty Glenda, Aunty Rosie and Aunty Beris who accompanied the students on the Cultural Tours in first term. The school would like to thank Dee- Anne Kapeen and Dean Loadsman for working with the students and to the Yamba Historical Society for setting up the exhibition and collating all the artwork. Special thanks to Rhonda Pitson, previous Deputy Principal at Maclean High School, whose inspirational idea has become the River of Learning Celebration Day.

Lastly, such an event would not have been possible without the enormous effort, drive and commitment shown by our Aboriginal Education workers, who led and co-ordinated all the projects on the day such as dance, music, language, art, consultancy and logistics. They have also inspired our students to "get out there and celebrate their culture". A big thank you to Sam Kapeen, Anjanette Warburton, Krystal Randall and Deborah Breckenridge.



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