National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week

Key Points

  • This week, Gymea recognises Reconciliation Week starting on Thursday 27 May following National Sorry Day on Wednesday.
  • All students from 7-10 participated in lessons focused on the history and significance of National Reconciliation Week, delivered by our HSIE faculty.
  • Our Year 7 and 8 students also participated in a flag raising ceremony that concluded with a “sea of hands activity” whereby they wrote messages about fostering positive, equal, and respectful relationships into the future.
Sorry Day Ceremony
Sorry Day Ceremony

National Sorry Day on Wednesday 26 May is a significant day on the Indigenous community calendar; a day that signifies an apology to our ancestors for the short comings they faced. This apology extends to indigenous people and communities today who still feel the ripple effect of the stolen generation. As Reconciliation Week followed on Thursday 27 May, Mrs Turnbull and Mrs Blackburn organised a number of activities to lead our students through the importance of this week.

All students across years 7 – 10 participated in lessons this week around the history of National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week which were delivered by our HSIE faculty. Thank you to Mrs Polianitis for bringing these lessons together to ensure all of our students were able to learn about these two important events on our Australian calendar. Through Visual Arts, Mr Lloyd also led many of our students through preparing paper cut-out hands for every student in Year 7 and 8 to participate in a “sea of hands” activity during their yarning circle commemoration assembly in Period 3 on Thursday.

Then, to commemorate the start of Reconciliation Week, two of our indigenous students got up in front of the school during our Thursday morning communication assembly to perform an acknowledgment of country and speak about the history of National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week. Mrs Turnbull also made a heartfelt speech to our school, sharing understanding from her own community and what it means for us to all come together to recognise the events of this week.

During period 3 on Thursday, Year 7 and 8 gathered around the flagpole in a yarning circle where Leah of Year 7 explained what reconciliation meant to her. Mrs Turnbull also made a speech about reconciliation, what it means to be indigenous, how valuable it is to have indigenous allies and what it means to have equal, respectful relationships to all. Mrs Blackburn had also organised two guest speakers from the Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation who also spoke about reconciliation and the support available to our Aboriginal students that Kurranulla can provide.
Following the speakers, two of our indigenous seniors, Lucus (Year 12) and Ash (Year 10) performed a flag raising ceremony to signify the unity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. After this flag raising ceremony, all year 7 and 8 students were given a paper hand prepared by our Visual Arts students and asked to write a positive message that signifies the nature of reconciliation and expresses how they feel. Students then placed the “hands” into the ground to symbolise the power of their message in supporting a positive future and inclusive for all Australians.

Our sincerest thanks to Mrs Turnbull and Mrs Blackburn for their work that enabled so many across our school to come together, to learn about the history of our stolen generation the significance of these events for both indigenous and non-indigenous Australian’s and the importance of all of us coming together to continue building positive, respectful and equal relationships for all.

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