THE CRYSTAL Creek campus of Shalom College is getting a makeover.
The campus, used for Indigenous young people disengaged from mainstream education, is an outdoor education centre half way between Townsville and Ingham.
The main campus of Shalom College, a K-12 boarding and day school supported by the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, is located in the western suburbs of Townsville. It is also getting new student accommodation facilities.
Since its foundation in 1994, Shalom College has racked up an impressive series of achievements. The College has an enrolment of 400 day and boarding students across both primary and secondary schools.
Literacy and numeracy skills are emphasised at all levels of the College program. Students also have the opportunity to complete VET (vocational education and training) courses.
Over half the 2007 graduating Year 12 class completed both the senior certificate and a VET qualification.
However all of this doesn’t stop the College from having a culturally sensitive Christian Perspectives course at every year level, an elite sports program, and from encouraging students to participate in traditional dance.
We “actively encourage our students to embrace their cultural heritage providing opportunities for students to practise and learn traditional dances”, said the College, and “the opportunity for students to perform in the local community”.
Every year in July the College holds a NAIDOC festival. An annual event from 5-12 July, NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week is a national celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields. "
For Shalom students it is “an exciting opportunity for students to share their culture with their peers and wider community. Students spend most of the year preparing themselves for this event with after school and lunch time practices, with students often learning and performing dances from a multitude of different cultures,” the College website said.
The school theme this year is “Honouring our elders, nurturing our youth”.
In 2007, the Shalom Academy of Sport was established to foster elite athletes in the College. Four sports were chosen: netball, AFL, basketball and touch rugby.
Over 150 students (of a total College population of 400) participated in trials.
A number have already made representative teams. Local sports administrators in sports such as rowing and AFL have assisted the College develop the program.
The leadership of Shalom College is uncompromising in its commitment to helping Indig-enous young people take control of their futures.
Chairman of the Board Rev Shayne Blackman said, “Our mission is the achievement of a better quality life for Indigenous Australians, equality of living standards across all strata of community life, and equality of cultural appreciation and acceptance at all levels. Education is the key to achieving this mission.
“The Board has committed the College to graduating students who will take with them leadership, management and business skills that can contribute to the general area of community development in a way that will enable our community to achieve the twin goals of self-determination and self-management so that we may better control our future.”
Photo : Shalom College dancers embrace the rich culture of the school and community. Photo courtesy of Shalom College