Indigenous kids lead the way

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Tylah Williams, Brianna Cunningham, Sedeena Woods, Mackenzie Wallam, Zariah Farmer and Isaac Penny.
Camera IconTylah Williams, Brianna Cunningham, Sedeena Woods, Mackenzie Wallam, Zariah Farmer and Isaac Penny.

Tambellup Primary School’s 2018 faction leaders are rapt with pride after serving as the school’s first all-indigenous faction captains group.

Year 6 students Isaac Penny, Zariah Farmer, Mackenzie Wallam, and Sedeena Woods were this term elected as faction captains, giving them an important role as young leaders at the school of 65, about 110km north of Albany.

They were joined by Tylah Williams and Brianna Cunningham, who were elected as school captains.

The students help organise school assemblies, perform school addresses, writing for the school’s newsletter, maintaining sport equipment and help kindergarten students around the campus.

Mackenzie, 11, whose brother and mother went to Tambellup Primary School, said she wanted the role to be able to help other students and teachers.

“My family is really proud of me,” she said.

Encouraging young indigenous students into leadership positions is one of Tambellup Primary’s ways of tackling Aboriginal Australian school engagement.

Nationwide, Aboriginal Australian students have lower school attendance rates than non-indigenous students — a gap which increases with distance from cities.

Official figures show indigenous student attendance rates are about 10 per cent lower in remote regions — which includes Tambellup — than in cities.

However, indigenous attendance at Tambellup PS is about 15 per cent higher than the national average at about 90 per cent over the past five years.

Principal Luke Schulze said promoting young indigenous leadership was “one of the best parts of the job” which he hoped would “light the spark about the importance of leadership for their future”.

“They help to build authentic and positive relationships with the school and wider community,” he said.

“It provides our other students with a goal to aspire to and benefits the wellbeing of all our students.”

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