DOING US PROUD: Burnett State College's SEQ Constitutional Convention for ATSI students team: Dayne Dakin Mi-Mi, Sara Mealand, Kaiden Ratcliff and Sophie Shadford.
DOING US PROUD: Burnett State College's SEQ Constitutional Convention for ATSI students team: Dayne Dakin Mi-Mi, Sara Mealand, Kaiden Ratcliff and Sophie Shadford. Contributed

Students to have their voice at constitutional convention

GAYNDAH will be represented at this year's South East Queensland Schools Constitutional Convention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in Brisbane.

Burnett State College students Sophie Shadford, Dayne Dakin Mi-Mi, Sara Mealand and Kaiden Ratcliff will be heading down for the event at Queensland's Parliament House on September 11, with the support of local health and wellbeing organisation IWC.

"IWC is sponsoring the students to attend the convention, which provides an opportunity for them to explore constitutional issues,” Kathy Ratcliff, a teacher aide at the college, said.

"This will help them become better informed about the Australian system of government and how the Constitution provides the framework for our democracy.

"This is a great opportunity for our students, and one which will help to shape them as leaders of the future.”

Mrs Ratcliff said that at the convention, students from across Queensland would be able to participate in debates and plebiscites.

"During this event, Queensland's team of delegates will be selected to attend the next annual National Schools Constitutional Convention in March, which will be held in Canberra,” she said.

IWC and the college have developed a firm relationship, with the organisation sponsoring other students also.

The 'Giunda Girls', Chloe George, Sara Mealand, Emily George and Makaileed Appo, won the Perpetual Shield in the Junior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aspirations Program Challenge Day in Bundaberg last year.

The 'Giunda Girls': Chloe George, Sara Mealand, Emily George and Makailee Appo.
The 'Giunda Girls': Chloe George, Sara Mealand, Emily George and Makailee Appo. Contributed

This success saw them compete against other regional schools from the Wide Bay Burnett this month.

The competitors were tested on their long-term problem solving, ability to speak persuasively, general academic ability and commercial initiative.

They were also expected to show proper respect to the Elders, and an awareness of the sensitivity of certain topics (without avoiding them entirely).

Mrs Ratcliff said she hoped to repeat the event next year.

"The support of sponsors including IWC is invaluable in giving students an opportunity to improve their academic confidence,” she said.

"It means so much to the students to be able to participate in both of these events.

"They think for themselves and come out with some unique and thoughtful perspectives on big issues, which is so great to see,” she said.

IWC CEO Ara Harathunian said the organisation was proud to support local students.

"We will be looking on with great interest and hope these young people will be among those heading to Canberra,” he said.


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