NAIDOC Week’s new principal

Naidoc Week

NAIDOC Week was very special this year for one of NSW public schools' newest principals.

Aboriginal woman Tammy Anderson oversaw her first NAIDOC celebrations as a new principal in the school she attended as a girl and describes the experience as "incredible".

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to acknowledge the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"I've only been a principal for nine weeks. It was my first time being a principal in my own community and I'm really proud at the job my team has done - to pull off such an amazing week that has inspired and educated both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students."

Briar Road Public, where Ms Anderson is principal and attended school as a girl, has a 33 per cent Aboriginal student population.

We value the vision

For NAIDOC Week it immersed itself in cultural activities centring on this year's theme: We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions of 1963.

The theme highlighted the 50th anniversary of the presentation to Federal Parliament of two bark petitions made by the Yolongu people of Yirrikala in northeast Arnhem Land. They were seeking recognition of their traditional rights and ownership of their land.

Ms Anderson said the school activities, held during the last week of Term 2, not only tied in with NAIDOC Week but also helped the entire student community gain a deeper and richer understanding of Aboriginal culture.

Celebration highlights

Highlights of the week included Queensland Murri performer Sean Dewar giving traditional dance lessons to the students from preschool to Year 6 and the playing of traditional Aboriginal games.

During the week, Aboriginal Rugby League heroes including Manly Sea Eagles' George Rose, Newcastle Knights' Timana Tahu and Canterbury Bulldogs' Ben Barba joined Aboriginal model Samantha Harris and local community organisations in encouraging students to set and achieve goals.

Aboriginal community development coordinator Jason Sampson said for the Aboriginal students it was a time to strengthen their identity.

"Hopefully we're giving them some aspirations and things to look forward to by providing those role models."

Ms Anderson said the week gave her the opportunity to let school staff and student talent shine.

"I'm certainly setting high expectations. I want the students to strive to achieve and to know they can achieve absolutely anything - the sky is the limit."

Photo: Tammy Anderson and Jason Sampson. Photo by Robert Edwards. 

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