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A wonderful display of 'community' at our Flag Raising Ceremony

Our school community joined together with local Aboriginal Elders, dignitaries and special guests to celebrate the raising of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. The raising of the flags was initiated by Year 5 student Sharnhi who approached Mr Dickinson, Chairman of the Board and asked if the school could fly both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags alongside the Australian flag. A special assembly was held on Friday, 25 October and students enjoyed a traditional Aboriginal welcome dance by visiting dancers from St John the Evangelist High School. Local Elder, Uncle Tom Moore from ShACC (Shoalhaven Aboriginal Community Church) presented a Welcome to Country. This speech explained the significance of Welcome to Country. Uncle Mark played the didgeridoo and was joined by stage one students who played clapping sticks. Mrs Baker, the Secondary vocal ensemble and Kindergarten sang a beautiful song called Yil Lull. Mrs Stewart read from Isiah and gave a message about the significance of raising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and the message the Bible gives us through the parable of The Good Samaritan to be a good friend. There are many stories the Bible tells about the importance of relationships and being a good friend. Our God is a God of love, a God of community, a God of relationship. To be a good friend means we act out of love, out of compassion, out of care and concern, out of wanting the best for our friend. Through being a good friend, listening, showing solidarity, taking time to build relationships, apology and forgiveness, honouring grief and friendship we can strive for hope and not fear. It is through being a friend we can take action together to build a reconciled Australia. Flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags promotes a sense of our commitment to build a stronger friendship with our local Indigenous community. Students shared the significance of raising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. Ms Fiona Phillips, Federal Member for Gilmore presented the flags to Mr Bray and students. The flag raising ceremony was very moving. Students witnessed the raising of Australian flag alongside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag accompanied by the didgeridoo. Sharnhi, Grace, Jada, Laruen, Tyla and Ryllie are to be commended on their excellent efforts raising the flags in the ceremony. We then watched another dance before enjoying some fresh fruit and gifts. Local elders, special guests and dignitaries enjoyed light refreshments with staff. The community feedback from both our school community and the wider community was extremely positive. Thank you to our wonderful students who raise and lower the flags each day and to all staff and students who assisted in the running of the assembly.

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