Warrnambool College marked Australia’s annual Close the Gap day on Thursday

CELEBRATING: Warrnambool College students Jirra Clarke, 12, from Gunditjmara country, Laini Johnson, 16, from Yamaji country and Michael Chivers, 13, from Murri.

CELEBRATING: Warrnambool College students Jirra Clarke, 12, from Gunditjmara country, Laini Johnson, 16, from Yamaji country and Michael Chivers, 13, from Murri.

WARRNAMBOOL College marked Australia’s annual Close the Gap day on Thursday with a celebratory dinner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families.

On Close the Gap day citizens come together to acknowledge the gaps in health and education outcomes. 

Kalay Academy co-ordinator Anne Jane said education played a “massive role” in the Close The Gap strategy.

She said Warrnambool College was proud to provide a culturally inclusive environment where the education of indigenous students was valued.  

“We are so fortunate to have the Kalay Academy for girls and the Clontarf Academy for boys,” she said.

“These two academies provide enormous support to try to help overcome the tough times and help make the kids stronger. It is through these two academies that we are seeing success on many different levels. Currently we have four students, Lana Brown, Lattrel Campbell, Lena Wright and Sam Alberts on Marrung scholarships. Melinda Ugle Hagan is on a VicRoads scholarship, Keisha Shaw is about to go on a nine-week Alpine School program and Jamarra Ugle Hagan was given a scholarship to attend a Melbourne school. We also have students attending the Richmond Indigenous Camps each year.”

Mrs Jane encouraged all students to take up the opportunities offered to them.

“There is a close link between education and employment and the higher your level of education, the more employment opportunities open up to you,” she said.

“So while your education never ends, it's so very important to recognise that your formal school education can open many doors to success. The more educated you are, the better your life can be.”

She told her students life would always throw up tough times.

“The important thing is how we deal with those tough times and whether we can pick ourselves up and keep moving,” Mrs Jane said.

She said the number of Indigenous students attaining year 12 or equivalent was outstanding.

“What we are trying to do with our students is to help them rise out of the low times by building resilience and toughness, because if we can make these kids stronger, they will be more committed to success,” she said.

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