Stars Shine at Awards Nights

Families, friends, community members, teachers, Stars staff and special guests have come together at Stars Awards Nights across Australia to celebrate the resilience, hard work and achievement of our wonderful young women during 2018.

On a hot and humid night in Yirrkala, East Arnhem Land, more than 150 people, including Member for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Guyula MLA, joined together to see our amazing Yirrkala Stars receive public acknowledgement of their hard work and commitment throughout 2018.

Year 12 graduate, Gamburruwuy Wunungmurra, was awarded Star of the Year for her outstanding commitment both to her education and to the Stars program. Her beautiful speech contained some encouraging words for the younger students who are stepping up into senior school next year.

“I’d like to say thank you to Stars for helping me achieve my goals and supporting me to go to school every day. Also, to the new senior secondary students. I want all of you to finish your Year 12.

“To do this you need to come to school every day and ask Stars for help. Listen to your teachers and come to school on time. Good Luck to you all!”

In Townsville, our Heatley, Thuringowa and Pimlico Stars held their first ever Stars Awards Nights, with the hard work, persistence and resilience of our girls and young women being recognized and celebrated by families, friends and community members.

Stars Founder and CEO Andrea Goddard said it was a privilege to be able to attend two of the Townsville Awards Nights.

“It was fantastic to celebrate the achievements of the Stars from Townsville over this first year of the program’s operation.

“There was so much love and pride and it was wonderful to share the experience with families, community and our wonderful Stars teams.”

Back in the Northern Territory, our Nightcliff Middle School Stars were proud to receive formal recognition of their commitment and hard work at the 2018 NMS Stars Awards Night.

Many of the students have spent the whole three years of their time at the school being supported by the Stars program. Year 9 Teachers Award winner, Tamsyn Tapper, spoke about her journey with Stars and the big impact it has had on her life and her education.

“I am a year 9 Indigenous student at Nightcliff Middle School. I first started my journey with the Stars Foundation when I was in year 7 and have been lucky enough to spend my whole middle school with the program.

Stars have helped me a lot with my studies, personal problems in and out of school and my attendance. Stars have given me a comfortable environment to talk and to just hang out when I need. I really like Stars because they take us out on excursions to many places where I would not get to go normally and have fun. Stars makes me proud of who I am as a person and what I stand for.”

The Stars Awards Nights are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the courage, determination and hard work of all our girls and young women, who achieve amazing things with the support of their passionate and dedicated Stars Mentors.

 

 

 

Expanding Limits, Broadening Horizons

Our Year 12 Thuringowa Stars marked the end of a long year of hard work and achievement with an exciting trip to Melbourne.

For some of them, this was the first time they had been out of Townsville, let alone travelled on a plane!

In Melbourne, they visited some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including Queen Victoria Market, Luna Park, and the MCG.

A trip up the Eureka Tower gave them an awe-inspiring view of Melbourne City and they were even brave enough, amid some screams and tears, to walk out onto the glass floor of The Edge, which extends out from the 88th floor and suspends you nearly 300 metres above the city in a glass cube!

At the Melbourne Zoo, our Stars enjoyed looking at many animals they’d never seen before and took enthusiastic part in the workshops, especially the one discussing the ethics of keeping animals in zoos.

Walking through the Melbourne Musuem’s Nelson Mandela Exhibition was an emotional experience for our young women, with many of them hearing about his role in ending apartheid in South Africa for the very first time.

A trip along the Great Ocean Road, with surf lessons in Torquay and a dolphin tour, capped off an end of year trip full of excitement and new experiences.

Stars Shine in Yirrkala

Families, community members and special guests, including Member for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Guyula MLA, came together on a hot and humid night to see our amazing Yirrkala Stars receive public acknowledgement of their hard work and commitment throughout 2018.

Year 12 graduate, Gamburruwuy Wunungmurra, was awarded Star of the Year for her outstanding commitment both to her education and to the Stars program.

Gamburruwuy’s beautiful speech contained some encouraging words for the younger students who are stepping up into senior school next year.

“I’d like to say thank you to Stars for helping me achieve my goals and supporting me to go to school every day. Also, to the new senior secondary students. I want all of you to finish your Year 12.

“To do this you need to come to school every day and ask Stars for help. Listen to your teachers and come to school on time. Good Luck to you all!”

Another proud Year 12 graduate, Madawuurk, also urged the younger Stars to work hard to achieve their goals in life.

“Thank you, Rosie and Jess, for inviting me to speak in front of people and to the Stars girls. I want to say that we are here to support and help you.

“I want you girls to keep coming to Yirrkala School every day and achieve your goals, future pathways, learn together and share together. Learning in both ways, Yolngu knowledge and English.

Also try hard to finish your Year 12 work and graduate. Good luck!”

The Attendance Award went to Dhandiya Garrawurra, a determined young woman whose attendance rate for 2018 was an outstanding 100 per cent!

Yirrkala Stars Awards 2018

Star of the Year – Gamburruwuy Wunungmurra

Academic award – Miyatja Mununggurr

Attendance Award and Role Model of the Year – Dhandiya Garrawurra

Brightest Star – Kenisha Winunguj

Diligent and Determined Award – Meykarranggi Marika

Rising Star – Dharrpawuy Garawirrtja

Sportwoman of the Year-Warrtjakpa Yunupingu

“Stars Makes Me Proud of Who I Am”

Our Nightcliff Middle School Stars were proud to receive formal recognition of their commitment and hard work at the 2018 NMS Stars Awards Night recently.

Many of the students have spent the whole three years of their time at the school being supported by the Stars program. Year 9 Teachers Award winner, Tamsyn Tapper, spoke about her journey with Stars and the big impact it has had on her life and her education.

“I am a year 9 Indigenous student at Nightcliff Middle School. I first started my journey with the Stars Foundation when I was in year 7 and have been lucky enough to spend my whole middle school with the program.

Stars have helped me a lot with my studies, personal problems in and out of school and my attendance. Stars have given me a comfortable environment to talk and to just hang out when I need. I really like Stars because they take us out on excursions to many places where I would not get to go normally and have fun. Stars makes me proud of who I am as a person and what I stand for.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to Jordan [Stars Mentor] for all she has done to assist me through my time at Nightcliff Middle School and preparing me for the next chapter of my life in senior school. Jordan has not only been a Mentor to me but also a friend, a shoulder to lean on, a happy face to talk to when I’m down and just an all over amazing person to be around.”

Other award winners at the Nightcliff Middle School Stars Awards were:

  • Year 7 Teachers Award – Taleisha Castillon
  • Year 8 Teachers Award – Shaykoda Carne
  • Year 9 Teachers Award – Tamsyn Tapper
  • Rising Star Awards – Renae Peacock & Latoya Luta
  • Most Committed – Alannah Angeles
  • Academic Award – Hailey Angeles
  • Best School Attendance – Shynarrah Senge
  • Star of the year – Mia Brahim

Stars CEO Welcomes $19.5M Funding Commitment

Stars Founder and CEO Andrea Goddard has welcomed an announcement by The Hon. Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Education, that if elected a Shorten Labor Government will commit $19.5 million in funding to support Stars Foundation.

“We are very excited because this funding commitment would enable Stars to provide high-quality, intensive mentoring support to thousands more First Nations girls and young women across Australia,” Ms Goddard said.

“Over the past decade, there’s been significant investment in programs for boys, but no matching investment in programs for girls, despite the fact that First Nations girls and young women face just as many challenges and barriers to education and employment as boys do.

“Stars was established in 2015 to address this inequity and we’re thrilled that Federal Labor, through this commitment, has recognised the quality of the work we do and the very positive outcomes we are achieving for our young women.”

Ms Goddard said the funding would allow Stars to build on its successful programs in the Northern Territory,  Queensland and Victoria by providing 8000 additional places for First Nations girls and young women in schools across the country.

Read more about the announcement here.

Stars Spirit on Show

Dripstone Middle School Stars had a blast last week taking part in the annual school-wide event – Dripstone Day.

Our young women showed great Stars spirit with their enthusiastic participation, even cooking and sharing some American-inspired food, such as Mexican cheese dip, potato skins and buttermilk southern-style biscuits.

They had lots of fun making and sampling some of the typical finger foods that Stars Mentor, Brittany, grew up enjoying in the United States.

In the lead up to the event, our Stars even got to FaceTime Brittany’s grandma in America to get ideas and some of her special recipes.

To top off the day, awesome Year 9 Star, Ekyra, made us all proud by raising over $110 for the Little Heroes Foundation by cropping off her hair in front of the whole school.

Wellbeing and Mental Health

As part of Stars’ focus on wellbeing, motivational speaker Joe Williams from The Enemy Within was invited to visit our Nhulunbuy Stars to talk about suicide prevention and mental health.

Joe is a Wiradjuri man from New South Wales who played NRL for the South Sydney Rabbitohs before moving onto professional boxing. Despite his successful sporting career, Joe told the girls that he has battled with suicidal ideation and Bi-Polar Disorder for most of his life.

He delivered a passionate and honest reflection on his own mental illness, addiction and substance abuse, and stressed the vital importance of remaining strongly connected to culture and identity.

Our Stars displayed a great deal of respect by listening attentively, and honestly sharing their own stories and self-reflections as part of the workshop.

The discussion left our young women with a lot of food for thought and reminded them of the importance of caring for each other and nurturing their own and each other’s wellbeing.

Cruising with the Water Police

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women to make a successful transition from school into employment or further study is a key focus of the Stars program.

To help them become fully aware of the many opportunities that are available to them, our Stars students are regularly exposed to a range of real-world work and study options.

Last week our lucky VCAL Stars from Haileybury Rendall School were taken on a fascinating workplace tour of the Northern Territory Water Police.

They had a ride on one of the police boats in Darwin Harbour and heard from one of the officers about how the boat is used for law enforcement. During the ride, they checked out a croc trap (no crocodile, though!) and got up close to the big ships out in the harbour.

Sergeant John Pini then took our students on a tour of the office and showed them the police boats, jet skis and cars, explaining what each is used for.

He also gave the girls an insight into the many different types of jobs available within the police force across the Territory and in the remote communities.

 

Exploring Future Opportunities

Two of our Year 12 Haileybury Rendall School Stars were lucky enough to go on a workplace tour of Care Flight NT this week.

The tour was hosted by local Indigenous woman, Justine Williams. As part of the visit, she showed our Stars some amazing footage of people who have required Care Flight’s services and of the dedicated doctors and pilots who work for the organisation.

They then went on a tour of Care Flight’s brand-new hangar, which contain training facilities, sleeping quarters, logistic and administration offices, and safety and emergency equipment.

They also had an opportunity to watch a helicopter being serviced by a team of engineers, one of whom spoke to the girls about the role each of them plays – and how important it is for them all to work as a team.

Our young women left knowing a lot more about the work of Care Flight NT and the types of job opportunities they might be able to consider after they finish school at the end of this year.

Making deadly choices!

During this term, Nightcliff Middle School Stars are taking part in an Indigenous health promotion program – Deadly Choices – as part of Stars Foundation’s dedicated focus on healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.

The program, which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, is being delivered by Tracey Thompson through Danila Dilba Health Service.

Every Wednesday afternoon the program will centre around a different topic. The first session was on Leadership and the girls discussed the different ways in which they can be leaders and role models within their own families and communities.

As a strong focus of the Stars program is to contribute to community, the girls were happy to volunteer their time to assist Tracey to prepare a barbeque breakfast for community members every Tuesday morning.

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.