Blog

Cultural Trip for Year 8s

Stars makes a point of recognising and celebrating the commitment and achievements of the First Nations girls and young women in our programs.

Year 8 Geraldton Stars who have consistently followed the Stars Values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment, Pride – met school expectations, and attended school regularly were recently treated to a camp to Monkey Mia and Shark Bay.

An amazing sunset cruise across the bay gave the girls a chance to view turtles, birds, and marine animals in their natural habitat. This was followed by a dolphin-feeding session where students were able to get up close to the dolphins, but weren’t allowed to feed them for fear of the dolphins catching COVID.

During a visit to Shark Bay, the girls enjoyed a trip to the local museum, where they learnt about the ancient cultural ties of the region’s First People (Nhanda and Malgana people) and the impact of colonisation there.

On the last night the students attended a Didgeridoo Campfire with Wula Guru Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures. It was a fabulous night-time adventure for the girls, where they learnt more about local culture and the fascinating history of Gutharraguda (the Aboriginal name for Shark Bay meaning ‘Two Waters’), listened to the Didgeridoo and heard stories of the Dreamtime.

It was a very special trip that really inspired the girls to return to Geraldton and learn more about their country and culture.

Rising Star: Imahni Lenoy

Imahni Lenoy, Year 12 Heatley Star, is on her way to a career in Defence, having recently passed her Defence assessment! Now she’s in training for the next step – her fitness test.

She chose to pursue this pathway after a conversation with Stars Transitions Manager (QLD), Emma Ferguson, who supported her to sign up for a work placement with the Military Police.

Stars also assisted Imahni to sign up for a RAAF camp over the last school holidays to help her understand the many different career options available in Defence.

Imahni has been a part of the Heatley Stars Program since it commenced at the school in 2018 and has been actively involved since the beginning.

She has attended incentive camps and high-attendance celebration activities, as well as spending as much time as possible in the Stars Room interacting with her Mentors and other students.

Imahni has developed high-level leadership skills throughout her time with Stars and is proud to be this year’s Heatley Secondary College Indigenous School Captain.

Throughout 2022, Imahni has been diligent in going through the steps to apply to Defence, with Stars supporting her throughout the process and linking her in with the local Indigenous Defence Mentor, Shay Butler.

Government House Tour

Some of our Driver Primary School Junior Stars were invited by The Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO, Administrator of the Northern Territory, to attend a tour of Government House and special morning tea recently.

The girls learnt that Government House plays an important role in hosting visiting royalty and dignitaries, including vice-regal, diplomatic and government representatives of Australia and other nations.

They were amazed to hear that this year marks 151 years since Government House was built, and it has survived cyclones, earthquakes, the bombing of Darwin, and even white ants!

One of the most significant rooms in the building is ‘The Prince of Wales Room’, and the girls were fascinated to hear that the late Princess Diana had actually stayed in the room many years ago.

After the tour, our beautiful young Stars spent some sharing their hopes and dreams for the future with Her Honour, which was wonderful to witness.

The girls were then taken on a walk through the garden to check out the amazing array of vegetables growing there, including chillies, limes, eggplant and many herbs – they also enjoyed the stunning view of Darwin Harbour!

Her Honour shared gifts with the students, which are now on display in the Driver Primary School Stars Room. Thank you to Her Honour and Government House staff for such an interesting and inspirational visit.

Children’s Day 2022

Stars across Australia celebrated National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day with a range of different activities and events.

This year’s theme was ‘My Dreaming, My Future’, which recognizes that First Nations children are born into stories of their family, culture and Country, and carry with them the Songlines of their ancestors and culture, passed down by generations.

It also acknowledges that the Dreaming of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is part of First Nations history, while their futures are their own to shape.

At Chaffey Secondary College in Mildura, our Stars enjoyed some early morning games and a hearty breakfast to get them fired up for the day, before hosting school staff and other students for a special morning tea.

Later in the day, some of the students attended the local community celebration where they got involved in face painting, games, and many more fun activities

Happy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day for 2022!

Stars Futures Forums

As part of our focus on supporting First Nations young women to transition successfully into work, training or further study after Year 12, Stars organises Futures Forums during second semester each year. These allow students to explore possible career pathways.

Senior students have an opportunity to speak with representatives from businesses, organisations and educational institutions about options and opportunities.

Students rotate around tables to speak with local representatives about employment and study pathways that they may like to consider.

Earlier in August, Stars hosted the Pilbara Futures Forum, with senior students from Karratha and Roebourne taking part. This year, 37 businesses, service providers, and Stars partners attended the event, making it the largest Stars transitions event delivered in Western Australia.

Jade Churnside, a Karratha Stars Graduate from 2021, attended the event as she is employed by the Karratha Rangers. She was able to share her personal experiences, what it is like to complete Year 12, and the support Stars provide after graduation.

In Darwin, the Futures Forum took place at the Darwin Cruise Ship Terminal. Students enjoyed yarning with partners about career opportunities and came away with a better sense of what is possible.

One of our Stars said, “It was really good, it helped me work out what I really want to do”, and another said, “It definitely showed me a lot of pathways I could take that I hadn’t thought of!”

The Perth Stars Futures Forum was held at Edith Cowan University, with senior students from seven of our WA Stars Programs participating. The morning began with a beautiful Welcome to Country from Nan Roma, who also shared her views on the importance of education in building a positive future.

The event provided young women with an opportunity to explore options, including workshops on Sports Science, Criminology, Justice, and Coding.

Esperance Stars hosted the first Futures Forum on Kepa Kurl Country in Esperance, with their Stars sisters from the Eastern Goldfields Stars program making a three-hour trip to attend the day.

Held at the basketball centre, local businesses and organisations from the Esperance and Goldfields region set up stalls where their staff shared information about opportunities within their organisations.

Students moved around the stalls, speaking with providers, and engaging in ‘interview scenarios’, all of which really helped build their confidence.

We wish all our Year 12 students the very best as they work hard to complete the year and move into their chosen pathways – and, as always, Stars will be there to support them all the way!

 

Camp On Country

Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ETNTAC) recently partnered with our Esperance Stars program to deliver an arts and cultural camp On Country, as part of the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

Twenty students from different year levels were thrilled to be selected to attend the three-night camp at Duke of Orleans Bay under the guidance of ETNTAC Rangers.

They had the opportunity to learn about collecting, preparing, and cooking bush foods – including emu eggs and acacia seed flour (used for making damper).

The girls were also given an opportunity to decorate their own sets of tapping sticks to use in dance performances, as well as learning some traditional stories about Wadarn Boodja (Sea Country).

It was fantastic to see how enthusiastic our Stars as they took part in all the activities. A huge thank you to the ETNTAC Rangers for all the planning and work they put in to making the camp such a wonderful experience for our students!

NEC laptops support Stars’ learning

Technology is a critical part of any student’s learning. That’s why our wonderful partner, NEC Australia, has recently donated 15 laptops to our programs.  This generous donation will help close the gap by improving Stars students’ ability to access the vital technology required to do research and complete school assignments.

“Many of our students do not have computers or the internet at home, so this wonderful donation from NEC will mean that more of our First Nations girls and young women will have access to the critical tools  they need to effectively pursue their education,” said Stars Founder and CEO, Andrea Goddard.

According to one of our Townsville Stars Mentors, the NEC laptops are already proving to be a fantastic additional resource in our Stars Rooms.  “The donation of these laptops means that our students – especially those who don’t have a computer at home – are able to do the necessary research to complete their assignments and keep up with their work.”

Toula Padoa, NEC Vice President – People & Culture, says that the organisation is proud to partner with Stars Foundation and provide practical assistance to First Nations girls and young women as they continue to pursue their education.

“Technology has become an integral part of education and having access to the right tools ensures that no student will be left behind in pursuing their goals.  We know that the bright young women of the Stars Foundation will embrace every opportunity to continue to learn, be inquisitive, creative and to challenge themselves to reach a brighter future,” she said.

Opening eyes to the future

Townsville Stars had a visit from the Downer Group Inclusion and Diversity team recently, who helped open their eyes to the local career opportunities available within their company.

They also took the time to yarn with our Stars and learn more about their lives and stories, and how the Stars program supports, nurtures and inspires them.

The students asked lots of questions about what life is like working in a big company like Downer and were fascinated to hear about the many different types of jobs that are available within the company.

The Downer team also met with three of our Stars Alumni, all of whom have experience working in different sectors, and are now looking to explore other career options.

Our Alumni were super excited about what they learnt in the session and are interested in pursuing some of the opportunities that Downer has to offer.

Thank you to the Downer team for visiting the Stars Room, taking the time to get to know our students, and providing so much useful information about future possibilities!

 

Stars Fashioning the Future

Haileybury senior Stars seniors were invited to participate in ‘Fashioning the Future’, a fashion and textiles pilot program facilitated by local creative director and curator Nina Fitzgerald.

Nina is a Wuthathi and Torres Strait Islander woman with an extensive portfolio in the creative sector and a keen interest in forging pathways for young Indigenous women within the fashion industry.

As part of their participation, Year 11 and 12 Stars visited local second-hand fashion store ‘Sister Buffalo’ for a sewing workshop.

Over two sessions, the young women learned how to use sewing machines, cut patterns, and repurpose second-hand fabrics to create their own bucket hats.

The final products were fun and unique and showed how rapidly our savvy seamstresses developed their skills. They also made excellent models for their gorgeous hats!

 

Preparing for Year 12

An important aspect of the Stars program is our focus on supporting students to complete Year 12 and make a successful transition from school into work or further study.

This term, our Western Australian Transitions team has been super busy delivering the Stars Year 12 Induction Program to fourteen programs across the state.

The Year 12 Induction Program provides an important opportunity for Stars to support Year 12 students as they prepare to enter their final year of high school.

The main objectives are creating a positive culture, fostering work-readiness skills, preparing for employment, and creating individual graduation pathways based on each student’s skills and interests.

At the commencement of each WA induction day, all students were provided with their very own Stars shirt to acknowledge the significant achievement of making it through to Year 12.

Students were also provided with a Year 12 portfolio, which included work-ready documents such as resume templates, mock interview examples and a transitions checklist to help students prepare for life after school.

It wasn’t all serious stuff, though, with our young women enjoying interactive workshops, fun team-building games, a few laughs, and a delicious lunch.

Thank you to Stars Foundation partners, Chevron and Clough Group, for providing online induction presentations to Broome Senior High School and Butler College.

*Please note that the Broome Induction took place in the first week of term, before the mask mandate came into effect in WA, which is why girls in one image are not wearing masks.