FIRE Carriers keep reconciliation alight

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Student artwork5 June 2020

Students at St John’s School, Frankston East, and St Mary’s School, Greensborough, have made their communities proud through their efforts to strengthen the spirit of reconciliation this week. Both schools participate in the Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education (FIRE) Carrier program.

At St Mary’s School, students took part in a range of creative, artistic and written activities that gave students and staff an opportunity to engage with National Sorry Day and reconciliation on a deeper level, both as individuals and as a community.

Zoe, who is one of the school’s FIRE Carriers, shared: ‘Sorry Day is a very important day in Australia. We remember our Stolen Generation. This day recognises that so many Aboriginal children were taken from their homes and families, causing sadness and pain. We remember the hurt caused and pray for strength as we work to live in harmony together.’

Principal Marisa Matthys arrived at St Mary’s at the beginning of this year, having been principal at another school. ‘I am practising a great deal of adaptive leadership’, she said. ‘I am thoroughly enjoying my time at St Mary’s. Especially that we are a FIRE Carrier school.’

At St John’s School, the student FIRE Carriers took the initiative to meet online to plan and lead a project to keep the spirit of reconciliation alight. They scripted a video invitation to their peers, families and the local community to create a ‘Sorry’ poster or artwork to place in their windows on Sorry Day and throughout Reconciliation Week.

Deputy principal, Felicity Broughton said: ‘The message of reconciliation put so simply yet powerfully is a credit to the FIRE Carrier team at St John’s.’ Susan Cook, a parent of one of the student FIRE Carriers, added: ‘How truly humbling it is to be educated by my 10-year-old daughter regarding Australia’s history with Sorry Day reconciliation. What an honour and privilege it is to have such a proud Fire Carrier in our family.’

Another mark of the successful leadership of the FIRE Carriers is how they engaged and led other members of the local community in the activity. ‘Many students participated, along with some members of CEM, to create Sorry artwork to display in their windows’, said social justice leader, Marisa Patton. ‘Some students even made their own fliers to put in letterboxes to include the whole community, not just the school community. We hope to continue this “new normal” next year.