Thuringowa Star Joins ADF

Year 11 Thuringowa Star, Gail Coolburra, has embarked on an exciting career journey with the Australian Defence Force.

Gail is currently completing the Army Indigenous Defence Program at Kapooka in New South Wales. Once she has finished this, she will begin her enlistment training to become a fully fledged member of the Australian Defence Force.

Gail’s Stars Mentors attended her Enlistment Ceremony in Townsville recently and all felt so deeply proud of how far this young woman has come during this year.

Gail has been an enthusiastic participant in the Stars program and has definitely left a void in the Thuringowa program.  In fact, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when her Mentors and fellow Stars students waved her off for the last time!

We are so proud of you, Gail, and we know you are destined for a very bright future. Congratulations!

Celebrating Strong Female Role Models

A whole day of NAIDOC celebrations and activities is traditionally held at Sanderson Middle School in Darwin each year. It’s a fantastic showcase of Indigenous culture, food, dance, crafts, sport and art.

This year, our Sanderson Stars were lucky enough to be able to host a special morning tea for the families of Indigenous students at the school.

During the morning, guests enjoyed an exhibition of some outstanding artwork done by our Year 9 Stars. As part of their Indigenous Languages and Culture class – and in recognition of the NAIDOC 2018 theme ‘Because of Her, We Can’ – the girls each painted an image representing a strong female role model in their lives.

Kiera Kurnoth painted a beautiful picture for her Nan, a strong Wurumunga and Larrakia woman – ‘I am proud of her because she loves and supports me unconditionally. She is a grandmother of 17 children and has had a large role in raising us all. Because of her, I can be a strong and independent woman.’

Our Year 7 and 8 Stars also had some of their art displayed, which they worked on during their Stars contact time though out the term.

The morning tea was a huge success and a very proud moment for our amazing Stars and their loved ones.

Star Excellence!

A passion for science and scientific knowledge has led to Pimlico Star, Ebony Pearson, being awarded the Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education – Outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Senior STEM Student. She received the award at a formal ceremony in Brisbane recently.

Ebony is not only a high-achiever academically, she is also an impressive leader and role model. During the last school holidays, she attended the 2018 Indigenous Education Conference in Brisbane, where she gave a student’s perspective on the positives and negatives of the school system in relation to Indigenous education.

During her speech, Ebony spoke about the positive impact that Stars is having on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women within the wider school system.

Ebony is planning to study a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours) at university after she graduates Year 12 at the end of this year. She has a very bright future ahead of her!

Stars Explore Indigenous Resources at Townsville Library

Our Year 9 and 10 Pimlico State High School Stars celebrated Indigenous Literacy Day last week by spending the morning at the Townsville City Library.

The visit was hosted by Josephine Miskin, the library’s Indigenous Resource Officer, who provided information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and language and showed the girls how they can research family history.

Josephine also explained that the library shares a lot of information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics and encouraged our young women to visit regularly and remember that reading is fun!

The visit was a fantastic opportunity for our young women to learn more about their self-identity, and the importance of being proud of culture and having respect for Elders.

All of the girls have now applied for a library card and can’t wait for their next visit!

Building Trust, Boosting Engagement

Some Year 10 and 11 Katherine Stars with lower levels of school attendance were taken on an overnight re-engagement camp to Katherine Gorge recently.

The aim was to strengthen relationships, develop trust and remind our young women about the importance of completing Year 12.

At the camp site, once their tents and swags were set up, the girls and their Mentors gathered together to play games designed to develop trust and encourage positive interaction.

Once everyone felt comfortable and settled, and were getting along well, the girls went on a hike to Baruwei Lookout, where they sat with one another to watch a magical Katherine Gorge sunset.

Back at camp, the girls cooked dinner and the whole group sat down together like a family to eat and have a yarn. Later, toasting marshmallows around the campfire, the girls and their Mentors shared stories about their own lives and where they saw themselves in the future.

The campfire session was a great opportunity to highlight to the girls the importance of attending school, getting a good education and completing Year 12, so they can build a positive and independent future for themselves.


Jabiru Stars Sharing Culture

Each year Jabiru Area School hosts students from Sacred Heart College in Geelong (Victoria) for a week, as part of a cultural immersion program called ‘Destination Dreaming’.

This year, our Jabiru Stars took the lead, escorting the visiting students to Ubirr in the East Alligator region of Kakadu National Park. Ubirr is home to some of the best rock art in the world and is famous for its panoramic view of the floodplains and escarpments below.

Our Year 9 and 10 Stars spoke to the Sacred Heart students about the different art and explained the surrounding scenery. Samantha spoke to them about her family’s history and how important this land is to her and her family.

The next day, Kia and Shantel conducted a cooking lesson for the visitors. They were shown how to make damper from scratch and how to prepare Magpie Geese and cook them on the fire.

Following a delicious lunch of damper and goose, the Sacred Heart students joined our seniors Stars during a lesson on self-care and wellbeing. The two groups worked together to make different face masks and lip scrubs and then took part in a meditation session.

We are so proud of the way in which our Stars welcomed the visiting students and how eager they were to share their knowledge about their culture and community.

Strengthening Bonds and Fostering Wellbeing

After the recent Netball Carnival in Katherine, our Nhulunbuy Stars stayed on for a day of bonding and wellbeing activities, exploring local Jawoyn country and visiting Nitmiluk National Park.

First, the girls spent some time at Katherine Hot Springs with Yirrkala and Tennant Creek Stars, playing a lengthy game of ‘Marco Polo’ and carrying out many surprise ‘dunkings’ of Stars Mentors! It was so wonderful to see Stars girls from across the Northern Territory forming friendships and building strong rapport.

Next morning, some of our Stars hiked up to the Baruwei Lookout and explored two of the 13 gorges by boat with Nitmiluk Cultural Tours. A lot of the tourists we met were curious about our Stars shirts and asked lots of questions. Many overseas visitors, who had their cameras at the ready, were very appreciative of our girl’s uncanny ability to spot local wildlife!

Our awesome young women spoke to them with pride about Stars and showed a great deal of confidence in explaining the program and everything it does to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls with their education and successful transition into further study or employment.


Darwin Induction Camp for Jabiru Stars

Students from our new program in Jabiru, NT, travelled to Darwin for a Stars Induction Camp recently.

The camp gave ten excited and enthusiastic girls from Years 6 to 9 an opportunity to learn more about Stars, bond with one another and get to know their Mentors.

After an early departure from Jabiru, the students visited the Dripstone Middle School Stars Program, where they met other Stars girls and participated in a health workshop, followed by a delicious chicken curry lunch made by the Dripstone Mentors.

The afternoon was spent having fun at the Darwin Wavepool, followed by dinner at Darwin Wharf, where the Stars were excited to bump into another school camp from Jabiru!

To top off the night, the girls were taken ten-pin bowling, where there was strong competition, plenty of gutter balls and lots of laughs!

The next morning, the girls visited the Sanderson Middle School Stars Program, where they had a delicious breakfast. Sanderson Mentor, Iggy Vallejo, spoke to the students about Stars and sparked many ideas for activities for the Jabiru Program.

Morning tea at the beautiful Nightcliff beach was followed by the long journey home to Jabiru.

Engagement Activity Focuses on Art

During their Year 9 sleepover, our Thuringowa Stars were exposed to a range of different types of artworks out in the community.

At a local Townsville gallery, the girls enjoyed an exhibition of works specifically designed for young people, before moving on to the amazing Aluminium Art Gallery.

This unique gallery exhibits work from Australian and international artists, who create their pieces using specialised techniques of grinding and painting on recycled aluminium ‘canvases’.

Finally, at an exhibition of traditional Torres Strait Islander artefacts titled ‘Evolution’, the girls were taken on a journey from time immemorial, when masks were used in ceremonial rituals involving art, theatre and dance.

The activity was rounded off with a calming ‘Yarning Circle by the Sea’, which encouraged our young women to have quiet conversations with one another and just ‘be in the moment’, without the constant distractions of technology.

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.