On Monday 21st of March a courageous group from MVC headed off to Newcastle for a meeting with the four Ministers leading the Federal Government’s inquiry into educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. We left early so we could have a walk around Newcastle University and see what it has to offer. The gym and pool were huge, we had to pay for parking, and MARK got us lost on his walk down the hill, up the hill and along the highway.
We were greeted by the secretary of the inquiry from the House of Representatives standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs who welcomed us into the hearing. Wow what a big deal. We each had name tags, our own leather seats with microphones on the desk in front and every word we said was being recorded as well as videoed for future reference.
The Ministers were from all over Australia and the lady in charge made us feel important telling us that what we shared with them could help other communities and students to have better futures, so we needed to be honest and speak from our hearts. Aleena went first as we were all very nervous in such an official place. We were only supposed to have 40 minutes with them but we stayed speaking with them for 75 mins, (with Tyler Roberts, Ethan Jamieson, Laihla Cox, Emily Hill and Kakare Hohora).
We all spoke about how wonderful being at VC is and how fortunate we are to be in such a supportive and understanding environment where everyone involved in the College actually wants you to do better and show you patience and give you time to achieve your goals.
We each had chances to say things about ourselves and our own experiences and what we are thinking the government should focus their energies on for this inquiry. We argued how for some students who do not have enough support or funds the basic needs of food, uniforms, transport and excursions or classroom items, somewhere like VC gives us a chance to overcome these disadvantages and change our lives. There should be a VC in every town!! We also spoke about how the College shows us how to build relationships and make positive choices including wanting us to help others who are also less fortunate than us, like our Charity Walk day.
We want to thank the Ministers who also gave us all their food after the meeting; for sharing with us and listening to our experiences and responses. They thanked all of us and one of them was crying when she found out that when Kakare spoke to them, none of us have actually heard him speak and how important the message of College and making life better for others was. By College Leaders