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Footprints August 2017: Student Leadership in Woorabinda


We love to share updates on all of our partner communities and encourage conversations about Indigenous achievement. This month the focus is on Woorabinda.

We had a chat to Jon Opie, Head of Special Education at Woorabinda State School, about the positive impact the Cathy Freeman Foundation has had since it first partnered with Woorabinda schools in 2014.

One of the biggest changes Jon has observed is an increase in leadership and self-esteem in many students, especially those who have participated in the Horizons Program.

“The most significant change I’ve seen is in our student leaders now. Some went to the Horizons Camp very quiet, well-behaved, tried hard at school, but wouldn’t talk in front of anyone,” said Jon.

After a week of personal development and confidence-boosting activities on Horizons, Jon says the students that went on camp were now confident at public speaking and one student is now Woorabinda State School Vice-Captain for 2017.

“I think the camp gave her and the other students confidence. This student now helps around the school by helping out in the games room at lunchtime and helping the younger students. She is not the only one, most of our student leaders have gone on the Horizons Camp.

“I guess one of the Cathy Freeman Foundation’s missions is Closing the Gap, so in some ways the gap has been closed for this student. She was a quiet achiever and now she has become one of our leaders and is willing to speak up in front of people and have her say.

“The Foundation provided opportunities to learn leadership skills through the Horizon Camps and for the student to achieve and start goal setting. Woorabinda State School provided opportunities for a student leadership position and we also took the student through the process of applying and gave support through the interviewing process,” said Jon.

The Woorabinda programs are supported locally by Geoff Major (pictured above with Programs Manager Lachlan Preston) who works full time as the Foundation's Program Coordinator. Geoff plays an important role in ensuring the successful delivery of education support to Woorabinda students and teachers.

This is a wonderful story of student success and a great example of how education opportunities can change lives!

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The Cathy Freeman Foundation acknowledges and pays our respects to the past, present and emerging traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have died.

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