Bringing together the school community and the wider community through music, dance and song.
That’s the driving force behind the third annual NAIDOC community concert held at Taree High School on Thursday, June 21.
The evening brought together Aboriginal performers from around the community, including Taree High, Chatham High, Taree Public and Taree West schools.
Taree High executive principal, Allison Alliston said the concert is an opportunity to open the school up to anyone in the Aboriginal community interested in performing. Whether it be dance, song, poetry reading or storytelling, the stage is available to whomever wants to participate.
The idea started as a way of living the school’s mantra of engaging with the community; linking the school with the wider community.
Aboriginal students can be involved in the school’s leadership program know as Sistaspeak for the girls and Brospeak for the boys. It’s a 10 week program which takes the students out on country and teaches them Aboriginal language, law and traditions.
The community concert builds on that connection, bringing the elders into the school to help bridge the gap between the school and the community.
“It’s about breaking down the barrier between education and the Aboriginal community, “ Ms Alliston said
She explained how some of the elders in the community were not encouraged to stay in school or may have had bad experiences in the past.
“Now the aunties are coming into the school more and more,” she said. “They are part of the decision making process, which helps with engagement in the school process.”
The community concert is open to the public and Ms Alliston said more people are starting to come to the event.
“We’ve got a lot of great community feedback about the concert,” she said.
She explained how education and moving beyond high school can open the world up for the students.
NAIDOC week runs from July 8-15, however school normally celebrates a bit early due to the school holidays. The community concert was one of the activities the school hosted during the week, with the NAIDOC Week community awards held on Friday, June 22.