Avila College, Mount Waverley

Reconciliation in Action

“At Avila, our students belong. They belong in their classroom and their year level. They belong in their House and their extra-curricular groups. They belong in their friendship circles but most importantly they belong in the Avila family, even after they have left the School because they will become valued members of our Alumnae.” - Louise Gunther, Principal

Avila College over the years has established a program that is enriching their college community through working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in conjunction with the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, the CEO and Santa Teresa. This is an overview of their history and some of their work.

Our Aims:
As a group we have several key aims:

  • To walk the talk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as they journey towards full reconciliation with Australia’s non-Indigenous community
  • To educate ourselves and the rest of the Avila community in issues related to Reconciliation
  • To provide encouragement to Heads of Departments to maintain Aboriginal Studies in the curriculum
  • To fundraise for projects that are necessary for the nurturing of Aboriginal culture

The group has established a strong relationship locally with the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and is a member of the Friends Igniting Reconciliation group - called the Firecarrier Group - who aim to provide leadership in their schools and also raise funds for the education of Koorie students through the Opening the Doors Foundation.

The group has also been involved in maintaining Avila’s relationship with the Arrentre
people by having a student immersion to Ltyentre Apurte (Santa Teresa) community each year to work with the community. Over the years the group has helped the college to develop a culture of respect for Aboriginal people that is seen in the college’s commitment to Acknowledging the Land; the involvement in the Message Stick program; the welcoming place that the college has become for Aboriginal students who are assisted in their education.

The sort of activities the Reconciliation Group are involved in are spelt out in “The Covenant” that is established each year with the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. These include the celebration Proud Race Day, Close the Gap Day, Reconciliation Week, Dreamtime at the G, NAIDOC Week, Marngrook Day and also assist local parishes with preparations for Aboriginal Sunday. We have formed relationships with Aboriginal people who have come to the school as guest speakers.

Reconciliation Group:
The membership of the group are students from Year 7 to Year 12 who attend weekly meetings of the Reconciliation Group in the Wominjeka Room, and are supported by our student captains and a number of staff who have a passionate commitment to Reconciliation and walking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Reconciliation Group have established a Facebook page to communicate and share events with students at Avila College and other schools in Melbourne.

Many thanks to Jackie Benson for her support.