NASCA Students Return from TAFSIA Games (Jakarta)
In early October, an Australian delegation led by Aboriginal young people from Western Sydney returned from an international cultural...
21 Aboriginal students from the South Sydney region have been taken on a rewards camp as a testament to a more than 90% attendance rate through the current school year. National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) Programs Manager and former Australian Sevens Rugby Union player Trent Dyer says “For these young kids to have the best opportunity to go on to the career they most identify with they know that coming to school is necessary.
Some are heavily into sport but not everyone however they all identify strongly with their Aboriginality. The fact that we are able to introduce programs that reinforce the strength of Aboriginal cultures means these young people are engaging better with school overall”. Wiradjuri man and South Sydney local Lyall Munro is the NASCA South Sydney Academy coordinator. He acknowledges that “Some of these kids may not have ever been encouraged to have their Aboriginal heritage as being front and centre in terms of being crucial to their life success. It is certainly something most of their parents and older family members did not get access to while they were at school.”
Attendance is only part of the aim of NASCA however and with the help of experienced Aboriginal educators such as Gumbaynggirr Man Hilton Donovan the attitudes towards Aboriginal cultures and kids has changed. Hilton started working at Alexandria Park Community School in 1990, five years before NASCA even began as an organisation. He says “We used to think, ‘well if they’re at school at least they are off the streets’ now the expectations of the students are much higher. In the past year 9 and 10 was the goal, now they want to finish year 12 and they’re thinking of TAFE, work or University. Having the NASCA people working in the classroom also allows us to offer more one-on-one support to those Indigenous students that need the extra help.”
This year three students that are part of the NASCA Academies program in South Sydney were also rewarded with NAIDOC week awards which not only serves to celebrate the heritage of the Indigenous students but also promote the strength of these cultures and allow non-Indigenous students and teachers the chance to celebrate Australia’s First Nations’ cultures and history.
“The only reason I got to school is because of NASCA. I wouldn’t go to another school because NASCA doesn’t work there.” Mitch
Help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders stay strong in their culture and identity.