Students host school netball tournament to connect to culture

To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2023, students from San Clemente High School, Mayfield organised an Indigenous Community Netball Day.

Four other high schools across the Diocese participated in the initiative - St Catherine's, Singleton; St Joseph's, Lochinvar; St Bede's, Chisholm; Catherine McAuley, Medowie; and St Mary's, Gateshead.

Read the story below, as it appeared in The Newcastle Herald.  

In a move to connect with culture ahead of NAIDOC week celebrations, a group of year 10 students from San Clemente High School planned a day of sporting competition and fun.

Isabelle Pulbrook, Lily Baleanu, Kayla Stratton Macke and Karlie Marriott initiated the idea to host an Indigenous Community Netball Day, at their school hall in Mayfield on Thursday, June 29.

"We've always kind of wanted to do something around our community and bring schools together because we haven't really done anything like that before," Miss Pulbrook said.

Bringing together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the diocese, five schools visited on the day, including St Catherine's Singleton, St Joseph's Lochinvar, St Bede's Chisholm, Catherine McAuley Medowie and St Mary's Gateshead.

"We weren't expecting such a big turn out, maybe three schools but not this many," she said.

Miss Pulbrook said it was a special occasion she was grateful to share with her friends and celebrate her culture.

"It's really special being the first one ever and coming up with it together," she said.

"We're really enjoying getting to know everybody and bring our schools together in one place, talking about our culture and making friends."

A handmade, wood-burned boomerang was the winning prize up for grabs, and the group hoped the netball community day would be the first of many at St Clemente.

Aboriginal Education teacher Bryan Rowe said he was proud of the students to strike up a thoughtful idea reflecting on this year's NAIDOC theme 'For Our Elders'.

"I'm so proud of our students to come up with this initiative and to think about their future and connect with their Aboriginal peers. Some of these people here will be the elders of the future, and they're showing real leadership," he said.

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