A tale of two schools: Close the Gap across the nation
In many ways, Warriappendi School in Adelaide and Lourdes Hill College in Brisbane are very different schools, located over 2000 kilometres away from each other. But they are united by a shared passion – to close the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Both secondary schools hosted events for National Close the Gap Day this year to mark the national day of action and make a stand for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander health equality.
Warriappendi School is a unique school, a small school that works closely with young Aboriginal people and supports them to re-engage in formal education processes. The school prides itself on having creative and meaningful programs, exemplified by the active steps it’s taking to Close the Gap within its own school community.
Photo: Blue Razoo/OxfamAUS
On National Close the Gap Day 2017, Warriappendi students participated in a lesson about Indigenous health, which included classroom activities, outdoor games and healthy snacks. Students then cooked and served meals to their school community at lunchtime.
Warriappendi School is helping to ‘close the gap’ within their own Indigenous community by encouraging healthy eating habits.
All students who attend the school enrol in a hospitality certificate, where they learn to cook healthy and nutritious meals, and serve it to other students at lunchtime. It’s changed the food culture within the school, and gives students skills to utilise in their own homes, communities, and in the job market.
Lourdes Hill College
Half a nation away in Queensland, long-time National Close the Gap Day participants Lourdes Hill College, a Catholic secondary girls school in Brisbane, were gearing up for their event.
This year on National Close the Gap Day, students organised their own lunchtime festival, inviting the whole school along.
Lourdes Hill students participated in a wide range of activities, including petition signing, banner painting, a sausage sizzle, roaming chatterbox quizzes, a photo booth, hoopla, skipping, basketball, competitions, music and more.
A highlight was inviting local elder Aunty Joan for a yarning circle, with all students invited to take a seat and join in.
Students took a group photo on the school’s basketball court with their large, hand-painted banner, calling on the Australian Government to ‘Close the Gap’ on health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Is your school ready to Close the Gap?
National Close the Gap Day is an annual event calling on the Australian government to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous Australians, so they are equal to those of non-Indigenous Australians.
In the past two years, almost 200,000 students and teachers from over 500 schools have come together to celebrate the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture, committing to Close the Gap on Indigenous health inequality.
In 2018, NCTGD will be held on Thursday, 15 March. There is still plenty of time for your school to organise a Close the Gap event. If you are unable to celebrate on 15th March, Close the Gap events can be held any time of the year.
Is your school ready to stand up for Australia’s First People? Register your school today, and get ready for National Close the Gap Day 2018!