Stars Go To Uni

Five of our amazing Year 12 Casuarina Senior College students have taken part in University familiarisation programs in Sydney and Melbourne this year.

The students were selected after a competitive process, including writing a personal statement about why they wanted to be involved and what they thought they could get out of the program.

Early in the year, three of the students were invited to attend the University of Sydney’s Wingara Murra Program. This gave them a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for university life.

They were invited back in July for an intensive week of exam preparation, tutorials and scholarship information to help them achieve success in their final year of school.

It wasn’t all work, though. They also got to go on a harbour cruise and attend a performance of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Dark Emu at the Sydney Opera House.

In August, another two Stars students travelled to the University of Melbourne to take part in the Murrup Barak Program, where they toured the residential colleges, met representatives from the different Faculties and spoke to current students about university life.

The two young women also took part in a leadership development program, which helped them connect with other Year 12 students and share their stories.

Again, it wasn’t all work! They were also taken to the movies, had fun ten-pin bowling and a great night in eating pizza and bonding with other Year 12 students from around Australia.

All five students came back to school in Darwin full of drive and motivation to complete Year 12 and go to university. We are so proud of their passion and we know that their determination to succeed will take them far.

Building Bonds in Kakadu

Stars has a strong focus on encouraging our students to engage actively in their education. One of the ways we do this is by building trusting relationships and encouraging participation.

Recently, ten Katherine Stars were taken on a camp to Jabiru with the aim of increasing their school attendance and developing stronger bonds with their Stars Mentors and with one another.

During the camp the girls were taken to Ubirr, one of Kakadu National Park’s most famous sites, to look at the rock art, which is considered among the best in the world.

And, of course, a trip to Ubirr would not be complete without settling down at the lookout to watch the sunset and enjoy feeling the ancient spirit and serenity of Kakadu wash over you.

The next day, the students took part in a cruise along Yellow Waters, where they learnt more about the wildlife of Kakadu and what it takes to become a tour guide.

The girls enthusiastically took part in all the activities, had a lot of fun and built important connections with each other and their Mentors. These strong relationships will support them as they continue their school education.

Walking Deadly!

‘Walking Deadly’ gives our junior and senior Pimlico Stars an opportunity to rise to a challenge, support one another and build rapport.

The weekly walking activity allows the girls to keep fit, relax their minds and enjoy some time out from their home and school stresses.

It also helps strengthen relationships within the group and develops a sense of family and belonging. So much so, that the younger girls now see the seniors as ‘big sisters’, and vice versa!

Every third week, the group takes on Castle Hill, which rises to a height of around 286 metres and requires 3250 determined steps to conquer!

The ‘Walking Deadly’ group is part of Healthy Lifestyles and Wellbeing pillar of the Stars Plan and is supporting the girls to develop healthy bodies and healthy minds.

Getting a Feel for Uni Life

Three of our Heatley Stars attended the James Cook University’s Winter School for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in Townsville during the recent school holidays.

It was a great opportunity for the students to get a feel for university life over five days – they even stayed in the residential colleges on campus.

The program involved taking part in academic lectures and tutorials, study sessions, faculty visits and a range of team-building activities.

Our young women explored several subject areas, including Education, Indigenous Studies, and Midwifery and Nursing.

The young women say that the immersive experience at JCU has given them the motivation to pursue tertiary education.

Stars Speak Out for Wiyi Yani U Thangani

Over the past few months, our Darwin-based Stars and Tennant Creek Stars have had the fantastic opportunity of taking part in consultations for the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Project.

Wiyi Yan U Thangani is an initiative of June Oscar AO, the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The project is a national conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, designed to hear their priorities, challenges and aspirations for themselves, their families and their futures.

Our Stars were given an opportunity to discuss the things in their lives that they saw as either strengths or weaknesses.

The young women identifed the support of their friends and family, as well as the mentoring they receive from Stars Foundation, as definite strengths in their lives.

The importance of a having strong cultural identity and the ability to participate in sporting activities were also raised as things that made them feel uplifted and confident within themselves.

Our Stars also clearly and confidently articulated the challenges they face on a daily basis and discussed their ideas about what needs to happen to make change in their communities.

All of our young women were very proud of their contribution to this important national process and they strongly believe that the conversation is paving the way for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women across Australia to effect positive change for themselves and for their wider communities.

Stars student, Serena Barton, described their involvement in the project as “a great opportunity” because it gave them a voice on the issues that affect them as Indigenous young women.

“The consultation session allowed an open discussion in a safe environment, so we could be honest about the changes that we want to see within our communities.”

Stars Standing Strong and Proud

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play – active and significant roles at community, state and national levels in our society. 

 

In recognition of this, two of our Stars from Thuringowa State High School in Townsville recently had the opportunity to take on leadership roles and present a speech to staff at a local corporate NAIDOC Celebration.

 

After the Welcome to Country by the Wulgurukaba Aboriginal Dance Group, in keeping with this year’s NAIDOC theme, ‘Because of Her, We Can’, Alex Rodgers (Year 9) and Mya Christensen (Year 11) presented moving speeches about significant women in their lives. 

 

It was beautiful to see our girls stand strong, display confidence and have the courage to share their personal stories with people they have never met. 

 

We are proud to support such deadly young women who are strong in culture and display the Stars values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment, Pride.

Being Brave and Strong

As part of the Stars Plan, we challenge young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to step outside their comfort zones and demonstrate that they are brave, strong and able to achieve anything when they put their minds to it.

Recently some of our Year 9 students from Heatley Secondary College in Townsville went to Paluma Outer Limits Adventure Centre, where they faced and conquered a range of physical and mental challenges.

These included a high-ropes course, rock climbing, the Leap of Faith, giant swing, a bush walk to Cloudy Creek and a swim at Jourama Falls.

Apart from building their self-belief and encouraging them to reach for the stars, the visit also helped build relationships among the Year 9 group and demonstrated how great outcomes can be achieved through team work.

Another benefit was giving the students some time to connect with Stars’ awesome new Heatley Mentor, Kylie, who will be working with the Year 9s.

Stars Foundation
To support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to make active choices towards realizing their full potential in all aspects of their development and wellbeing.