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Be Brave. Make Change. Reconciliation Week 2022 and beyond

Be Brave. Make Change was the 2022 theme for National Reconciliation Week. A number of events and activities were held across the College to further students’ understanding of our shared history and culture and discuss how they can, individually and collectively, contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Edie Salamito, Year 12 WESMOB Prefect at St Kilda Road Campus, sees it is a ‘challenge to all Australians to stand up against racism and injustice, to speak truthfully and listen actively to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect on our historical and contemporary wrongdoings as a nation in an honest light and open our hearts to acknowledge this pain.’

National Reconciliation Week Assemblies were held at each campus, with students and members of Wesmob taking a leading role in educating their peers. Junior School students participated in smoking ceremonies with a Boon Wurrung elder, learning that these ceremonies are ‘a gift to others and a gesture of good will’.

At St Kilda Road, Senior School students participated in a ‘Walking on Country’ excursion with Willie Pepper, a Gunaikurnai and Yorta Yorta man and Community Relations Manager at the Boon Wurrung Land and Sea Council. They visited the Ngargee Tree cultural site at St Kilda Road Junction with Willie Pepper from the Boon Wurrung Land and Sea Council, as well as Albert Park Lake and Middle Park Beach which are significant to the Boon Wurrung people.

Elsternwick students participated in a ‘Wear it Yellow with Children’s Ground’ day supporting the health and wellbeing of First Nations children, while classes across the campus integrated Indigenous perspectives into their units of enquiry through music, stories and dance.

At Glen Waverley Campus, Middle School students participated in a symbolic Long Walk while Senior School students set the campus ablaze with a 'Sea of Hands' signed by the students as a Close the Gap pledge.

All College Firsts' teams playing home matches began with an Acknowledgement of Country and proudly wore their Indigenous strip, while students at Clunes had the opportunity to engage with a documentary called Lake of Scars being filmed locally which focuses on an Indigenous cultural site.

Longer term engagement is also under way through the development of the Wesley College Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) by a multi campus working party coordinated by staff member Rohan Chiu.

Year 12 WESMOB Prefect Edie Salamito is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this significant project.  ‘I have been privileged to provide a student representative voice in the development of Wesley College’s first Reconciliation Action Plan. This is an important step for our community as the RAP will lay out specific, measurable and deliverable goals which will be further developed and extended over time.’

‘Only by acknowledging the hurt inflicted on Indigenous peoples in the past and recognising the ongoing trauma and inequalities that persist today, can we truly begin to reconcile.’