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Acknowledgement of Country for Callaghan Education Pathways celebrates vibrant learning culture

Image of students participating in video

Students from Callaghan Education Pathways, a collective of 18 public schools in the Hunter, has produced an Acknowledgement of Country video  to share with the community as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.

The initiative was created by the Callaghan Education Pathways Aboriginal Education Team (CEPAET) which includes staff from across all CEP schools, and underpinned by the vision of ‘Shared Histories, Empowered Futures’. Written and produced by more than 100 student representatives from all 18 schools during a series of workshops in June 2021, the two-minute video showcases the vibrancy and inclusive culture of the Callaghan community of schools.

Callaghan College Principal and CEP Chair, Ms Kylee Owen, said ‘The voice amongst our young leaders is strong and this project is one of many which both empowers them and connects them to our local country’.

Filmed in one day on Awabakal land at Jesmond Senior Campus, the students also participated in a Smoking Ceremony with Lifetime Member of NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and Chairperson of Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, Mr Leigh Ridgeway. Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal students who shared in the acknowledgement, were joined by Aboriginal dance members and Yadaki (Didgeridoo) players, as part of the cultural activities on the day.

Ms Josie Bailey, Director, Educational Leadership with NSW Department of Education said, “This is a remarkable Acknowledgement of Country by our students. From kindergarten to Year 12, students have demonstrated the uplift of working together to represent the voices of all our schools.

“I thank all 18 CEP Principals as the proud sponsors of this initiative, and the support of our local AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Group)”.

The spoken words were crafted during an earlier writing workshop, which allowed students to discuss themes that were identified as locally significant, which were then folded into the collective acknowledgement, with the assistance of a dynamic group of staff from the CEPAET.

The video has been viewed by hundreds of Callaghan Education Pathways students as part of our NAIDOC celebrations and will now be a regular feature at assemblies held at each of the schools.