Blog

Recognising Commitment

Some of our Year 8 Palmerston College Stars were taken on an overnight camp to Litchfield National Park recently in recognition of their commitment to attending school each day, with one student increasing her attendance by almost 15 per cent last Term!

During the camp, our Palmerston students were lucky enough to drop into the Taminmin College Stars program, where they enjoyed meeting and getting to know a whole new group of Stars.

This was followed by a visit to the Batchelor Butterfly Farm, where the girls not only got to see and learn all about butterflies, but also hand-fed some ducks, geese, goats, rabbits – and even a donkey.

On day two, the girls were taken on a tour of Batchelor Institute and heard about what study and training opportunities it offers and how it supports Indigenous students from all over Australia.

This was a great way to celebrate their achievements and encourage them to maintain good attendance into the future.

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Stars Celebrate NAIDOC

Haileybury Stars hosted the inaugural Stars NAIDOC celebration for all programs across Darwin – with our Jabiru Stars even travelling up for the day! 

More than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women came together at Jingili Watergardens for the event, which was appropriately opened by Larrakia Nation with a traditional smoking ceremony.

The students then had a day of culture, fun and community, with a giant waterslide, a round-robin of Edor (a traditional Indigenous tag game), a relaxed art space, mob feeds (kindly donated by Woolworths Karama and cooked up by Larrakia Nation) and a NAIDOC-themed trivia competition. 

A highlight was the damper-making, with our older Stars happily guiding the younger ones on how to make their own bush bread (a big thank you to Foodbank for the donation of flour).

It was a fantastic day full of community spirit and pride in our First Nations identities, which we look forward to making an annual Stars tradition.

RISING STAR: Tayla Chisholm

“I definitely don’t think I would have got Year 12 done if Stars didn’t hassle me! They were so supportive and really wanted me to be the best that I could be,” says Stars graduate, Tayla Chisholm, who is now studying Nursing and working two part-time jobs in the health field.

Tayla started with Stars at her school in Darwin in Year 7, so she was fortunate enough to have access to the intensive mentoring support our program offers from the beginning to the end of her high school years.

“There was something about the Stars Room from the start. It just always felt so comfortable, and I was able to go there for support if I was having any issues at all. It was so comforting for me.”

“During Year 12, there was a lot going on in my family. I was struggling a bit and things weren’t very stable for me at all.”

“Eventually I moved out of home, and I started to think that it wasn’t important for me to complete Year 12.”

“But one of my Stars Mentors said to me one day ‘Tayla, you’ve already spent 11 years of your life at school, you only have one year to go until you’re done. Don’t give up now!’”

“That comment really stuck with me and made me realise what a waste it would be if I didn’t finish.”

Tayla was the first in her family to complete Year 12 and is now studying Nursing online at Charles Darwin University, while also working two part-time jobs to support herself.

“One of them is at the Pandemic Clinic, helping to screen clients who are coming in for COVID tests, and the other is at Menzies School of Health Research working on a vaccine project aimed at young people.”

“I’m interested in everything health-related and there’s a lot I could do with Nursing. I’d like to work in remote communities – and I could also travel a bit.”

Tayla has overcome some significant challenges to get to where she is now and everyone at Stars is super proud of her.

Soldiers for a Day

Some of our Townsville Stars spent a day as Army recruits recently, learning bush survival and fire-fighting skills, and living the whole day on their issued ration packs.

This activity was part of the Education, Training and Employment pillar of the Stars Plan, which focuses on supporting young women to explore potential career pathways.

Spending the day with 10th Force Support Battalion at Lavarack Barracks gave our students a taste of what it would be like if they joined the Defence Force after completing Year 12.

Defence Force Recruiting spoke with the girls about the many exciting career opportunities available in the Army and made a special presentation to each student as a memory of the day.

Some of our students have expressed an interest in a career in Defence after this amazing experience.

A big thank you to Defence Work Experience and 10th Force Support Battalion for hosting such a wonderful day!

Stellar Attendance

Philomena Clancy, a member of our Palmerston Stars program, has improved her school attendance from almost zero to near perfect with the support of Stars, which commenced at her school at the beginning of 2021.

Philomena had become disengaged from school because of some life challenges she was facing, but with the full-time support of her Stars Mentors, her family and her school, she has been able to turn this around.

As Philomena advised other students in a recent NT News article, even though things might be hard and going to school seems impossible, “At least give it a go and push yourself to go back”.

Everyone at Stars – especially her two Mentors Rhianon and Narcissa – are very proud of her renewed determination to attend school and focus on her education.

Philomena has rekindled her love of learning and is now working towards her dream of becoming a Vet.

You are a Super Star, Philomena!

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Basketball Stars!

Eight of our new programs in Western Australia held their first Annual Junior Basketball Carnival in Perth recently.

It was a fun-filled, action-packed two-day event, beginning with an overnight stay at Camp Wattle Grove.

After an Acknowledgement of Country by one of our Esperance Mentors, the girls took part in a teambuilding activity to break the ice, followed by dinner and a yarn around the campfire.

It was wonderful to see girls from across Western Australia coming together to get to know one another and begin developing friendships.

On the second day, the eight programs participated in the Basketball Carnival, which commenced with an Acknowledgement of Country by Dijinda Harris, a Year 7 Balga Stars student.

Not only did we see some amazing basketball skills throughout the day, but also a great deal of committed teamwork and sportsmanship.

Congratulations to Angie Harris, a Year 8 student from Esperance Stars, whose design was selected for the tournament t-shirts, which were given to all students and staff as a memento of this inaugural event.

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Fun Day Out

Year 9 Heatley Stars had an end-of-term excursion last week to celebrate their hard work and commitment during Term 2.

The day began with a visit to the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre, where students learnt more about the hidden secrets of Townsville’s wetlands and the positive impacts of sustainable living.

A tour of the wetlands and boardwalk gave the girls an insight into the native plants that live in the wetlands and the role healthy wetlands play in protecting our precious reefs.

They also had a look around the house and garden, which showed them how a sustainable home can help reduce your environmental impact, save water and energy, and use the natural resources on site.

After a great session at the Centre, our Stars finished the day off with some laser tag and ten-pin bowling!

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Workplace Visit

Workplace visits play an important role in the Stars program, exposing students to a range of employment pathways they might consider after completing Year 12.

Last week, Year 9 Sanderson Stars were taken on a visit to Karama Woolworths Supermarket to learn more about the range of roles on offer and the potential for part-time work while still at school.

First stop was the bakery section, where they donned hairnets and gloves before learning more about what a baker does and how bread and other baked goods are prepared.

The girls were super excited to make their own delicious pizzas using freshly made dough!

The Manager, Simone, then took our Stars into the staff tearoom, where they were able to taste test some of the different varieties of fruit on sale in the supermarket. They even got to take some back to the Stars Room to share with their friends.

It was a great opportunity, and lots of fun! We thank the staff at Karama Woolies for taking the time to show our young women around the store.

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Emergency Services Careers

Heatley seniors Stars have been experiencing what life is like in the emergency services over the past two weeks, as part of our focus on exploring post-school options.

Last week they visited Kirwan Ambulance Station – one of the busiest in Northern Queensland. They heard a bit about what it’s like to be a paramedic and the different pathways they could take to pursue this career.

It was inspiring for our Stars to hear from Paramedic Jess, who grew up in Mt Isa and is currently participating in the Indigenous Pathways Program and completing her Diploma.

This week they were taken to the South Townsville Fire Station, where they got hands-on experience of what trainee firefighters have to do to get ready to fight fires. They also learnt about the other types jobs there are in the service, including working in the call centre. 

These experiences are invaluable as our Stars reach the age where they are starting to think about what they want to do after completing Year 12.

A very big thank you to both Kirwan Ambulance Station and South Townsville Fire Station for so generously welcoming our students into their workplace.

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Careers Camp

Providing students with opportunities to explore career pathways is an important part of the Stars program.

Recently our Year 11 Thuringowa Stars were taken on a camp to Cairns to find out more about employment options outside of Townsville.

First stop was a site visit to HMAS Cairns, where students met with Lance Bombardier Joshua Youngblutt (Specialist Recruitment Team – Indigenous) and Able Seaman Nathan Graham, who took them on a ship tour.

Lance Bombardier Youngblutt also had a yarn with our young women about career pathways in the Navy for Indigenous people, including the GAP Year and Indigenous Development Programs.

Next up students met with local Indigenous group DIYDG (Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good), a local youth-led organisation that aims to inspire, equip and empower the next generation. They took part in a Leadership Workshop, which encouraged them to be Strong, Deadly, Indigenous Sisters.

During this visit, our young women were also lucky enough to meet some of the inspiring Indigenous women from the ‘Elders to Cleveland’ program, who facilitate workshops with young people at Cleveland Detention Centre.

The camp concluded with a breakfast visit from Tony Mitchell, Project Officer at the Department of Environment and Science.

Tony spoke about his career journey, starting out as an Indigenous Ranger and being promoted to a Project Officer role, and discussed some of the barriers he faced, including having to relocate his family off Country for work.

He also told the students that the Department is working to increase the number of Indigenous women employed through the Northern Indigenous Employment and Development Strategies.

It was wonderful to see our Stars building their understanding of some of the many dynamic career options that are available to them once they complete Year 12.