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www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
LEARNING FROM THE GOODES
AND THE NOT SO GOOD
SEEDS TO SUPPER
AT ST COLUMBAN'S
The nation was divided recently as to
whether or not the booing directed at
Adnyamathanha man and 2014 Austr alian
of the Year, AFL star, Adam Goodes, ,
from a group of fired-up spectator s in the
crowd, was racially motivated or not. Some
commentator s claimed Adam was using race
a s an excuse, suggesting that perhaps, like
many other individuals playing spor t and
judged by other teams' suppor ter s, he is
simply not liked. However, AFL Chair man,
Mike Fitzpatrick, acknowledged that whilst
the booing of Adam may or may not
have begun for other reasons, the AFL
Commission ". . .is of the view that this is
about race and cannot
In 2015, r acism was again making headlines
across Australia. As a nation we were, again,
grappling with how intolerance was still being
tolerated in this day and age.
Sadly, being racially vilified was something
with which Goodes was all too familiar,
having already experienced r acial slur s on
and off the field well before the 'booing'
scandal hit the front pages of the paper s
However, Adam decided to tur n a negative
experience into a positive, powerful for m
of education in a bid to help other s. It
was Adam who, this year, inspired a group
of students at St Joseph's High School,
Lochinvar, educating them on how to deal
with r acism and fur ther cementing his status
a s a tr ue spor ting legend who uses his public
pr esence to benefit other s.
St Joseph's Junior Aboriginal Education
Consultative Group (Jr AECG) was so
inspired by the "huge impression" Adam
made at the school and the suppor t he
offered to students that, following the
'booing' scandal, they decided it was time to
return the favour and show suppor t
The Group wrote a letter of suppor t and
sent it to Adam in August, having collected
more than five pages of signatures from
students so that he knew the whole school
suppor ted him.
Secretary of St Joseph's Jr AECG, student
Makenzie Mills, said, "We ba sically wrote
the letter because we want to suppor t him.
"When we asked Adam questions, he
r espected us and was interested in our
dreams. He gave us some ideas about how
to deal with r acism and he was a really big
inspir ation," she said.
In the letter to Adam, students said, "You
left us with such a positive and practical
message and we often speak of the
impact of your visit. Our Junior Aboriginal
Education Consultative Group has been
inspired by you. We just want to let you
know that you have our suppor t through
this difficult and challenging time. Your public
presence has made, and will continue to
make, a huge positive impact on us. For this
we thank you."
Principal of St Joseph's, Paul Greaves, said he
was proud of the Group.
"We felt very strongly about the issue and
students were very keen to get involved,"
St Joseph's Jr AECG was formed early
in 2014 following Religion classes where
students learned about Forgiveness and
President of the Group, Sophie Jackson, said
"We had to discuss the Catholic Response
to Aboriginal Reconciliation and Closing
the Gap for Indigenous Austr alians . This
included a question on how our school
community could par ticipate more fully in
the reconciliation process . We came to the
decision that we needed to upgr ade our
flag pole so that we could fly the Aboriginal
and Tor res Strait Island flags alongside our
Australian flag. We didn't have a formal
group at that stage but we were invited by
Francis Greenway High to sit in on one of
their Jr AECG meetings.... .then we wanted
to get our own group together,"
Student Treasurer, Sophie Cunningham,
added, "When we meet, it's just the
Aboriginal and Tor res Strait Islander kids.
We talk about who we are, where we come
from, what it is we want to achieve. It gives
us the sense that, hey, we can actually
Sophie said, "We have big dreams and big
idea s" and no doubt they'll continue to be
inspired by Adam.
"Because Adam came to our school and
we met him, we have a connection with
him. I'm so proud of how, even though he's
getting all of this bad stuff happening around
him, he's still staying positive, he's really
pushing on through it."
The St Joseph's Lochinvar Junior
Aboriginal Education Consultative
Group (Jr AECG) Members are Sophie
Cunningham, Georgia Cunningham,
Makenzie Mills and Emily Threadgate.
To read the Group's letter, please visit
Adam Goodes made a lasting impression when he visited St Joseph's Lochinvar earlier this year.
(back) Tony Fakahau, Manase Fakahau, Kayla
Morante, Jessica Adderley (front) Jay Wills,
Nhi Nguyen, Faith Mpofu with the vegetables
of their labours.
In late 2014, St Columban's Primary,
Mayfield, wa s awarded a gr ant of $6500
from the Por t of Newcastle to initiate the
'Seeds to Supper' project. This project
recognised a need to educate students
about sustainability and healthy eating,
including gardening and cooking with local
Some of the funds were spent installing
a r aised garden bed which was custom-
made in the shape of a boat, a tribute to
the Por t. Our fir st crops included peas,
beetroot, spring onions, Asian greens,
broccoli, lettuce and r adish. In summer,
a tomato trellis will be added which will
form the 'mast' of the boat.
Assistance from volunteer s gave the
children the oppor tunity to plant the
seedlings and care for them. Gr eat
excitement was evident as the
plants flourished !
Recently we held our first cooking lesson
with some children from the primar y
classes. The students cooked and ser ved
chicken wraps and a chicken stir-fry. All
the students lear ned new skills and tried
a food they had not tried previously. We
are ver y gr ateful to the Por t of Newcastle
for the funding grant which enabled this
progr am and look for ward to future
gardening and culinary successes.
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