Reconciliation Week - Now More Than Ever

The Theme of this year's National Reconciliation Week is 'Now More Than Ever' ...let's seek to listen and have empathy now more than ever!

At Claremont College, we teach the children that respect, understanding and empathy are essential aspects of all healthy relationships. At the heart of this, our school is a safe and inclusive place where our identities and diverse backgrounds are respected and celebrated. For me as a Christian, it’s ultimately all about ‘human flourishing’, or ‘life in all its abundance’ (John 10:10) - inspired by the teachings, commands and example of Jesus.

‘*Love God with your heart, soul, strength and mind. And love all people as you love yourself.*’ (Luke 10:27)

As a Principal, I am filled with joy when I see children flourish, and I count it an incredible privilege to have a part in making this happen.

One of the best ways to love is to listen. I encourage you, if you have the time, to ponder these words of one of my favourite authors, Valerie Kaur

*“**But the purpose of listening across lines of difference is not agreement or compromise. It is understanding. True understanding is not possible unless we risk changing our worldview. Otherwise, we think we have built bridges to one another, but the bridges are rooted in sands that can shift with the tide. Solidarity is only possible if we are brave enough to reckon with the past and how the past shapes the present.

*When we choose to wonder about people we don’t know, when we imagine their lives and listen to their stories, we begin to expand the circle of those we see as part of us. We prepare ourselves to love beyond what evolution requires.*

Our Family Story

Our school community will grow in strength as we seek to understand and celebrate one another. So with this, I am thrilled to share with you the story of one of our amazing Claremont families - The Law Family (Justin, Natalie, Noah (Year 5) and Jemma (School Captain Yr 6, 2023). As an Indigenous Family, I asked them the question - ‘What does reconciliation mean to you’? - This is what they have written…

"My name is Natalie Law, Noah Law's Mum. I am also a proud Bidjigal and Yuin person. My family is part of the La Perouse Aboriginal community. Reconciliation Week is an important time for both Aboriginal people, as well as the broader community. Reconciliation is all about reconciling the past and acknowledging and recogising our nation's shared history. National reconciliation week is an opportunity to learn about shared our cultures, histories and achievements. When I think about what reconciliation means to me and my family, it brings me back to my ancestors, in particular, my Grandmother.

My Grandmother was raised on an Aboriginal Mission in La Perouse. The Aboriginal people that lived there did not have control over when they could come and go; and the mission was behind big boom gates. In the many conversations with my Nan, she recalled to me that they were to be behind those boom gates and inside the mission before 6pm. If they were not back, they were at risk of not having anywhere to sleep. My Nan absolutely loved school, but was forced to leave school at 14 so that she could help look after her family. Despite this, my Nan spoke fondly of her time at school, and instilled her love of education onto me. She talked about never wasting opportunities and using your time wisely to achieve your goals. I was lucky enough to have completed my schooling and went to university to become a PE teacher. I am the first person in my family to do this and I am very proud that I have now been able to provide my children with the absolute best schooling experience here at Claremont. We feel lucky to be a part of a warm and accepting school community that embraces diversity and inclusion.

Reconciliation Week commences on 27 May each year, and the theme of Reconciliation Week this year: "Now more than Ever". It's an important reminder that now more than ever, we as a community and nation must move forward together, and continue to share the stories of our past as they shape our future."

Thank you so much Justin, Natalie, Noah and Jemma. We love you!