As a long term supporter of the Watarrka Foundation, Berwick College in Victoria have recently held their annual “Watarrka Week”, raising close to $2,000 for the Foundation across a range of student-led events.
The relationship began in 2015, when members of the Berwick College Flynn Learning Team heard about the Watarrka Foundation through Remote Tours (a NT based tour guide company led by Watarrka Foundation Founder, Reg Ramsden). Since then, the Flynn Learning Team as well as the O’Donoghue Learning Team have both adopted the Watarrka Foundation as their team charity.
Aligning School and Foundation Values
As recipients of the Victorian Education Excellence Awards for Most Outstanding Koorie Education Team, Berwick College has a passion for embedding Indigenous culture and history across all areas of school life. Every area of curriculum, school camp and program pays respect to and educates about the full Australian history and reconciliation as well as Indigenous learning and culture.
These values are what led the college to choose the Watarrka Foundation as their charity to support, and has driven their ongoing support for the last 4 years. Every year, 25 students from Berwick College travel to the Watarrka region as part of an ongoing community service program. All around the school grounds there are signs of support for the Foundation, to raise awareness and keep it front of mind for students and staff.
"The Watarrka Foundation is an organisation doing tangible, grass roots work with real outcomes. The fact that we can personally engage with the Community and the Foundation makes it feel personal to our College. The work is amazing, it speaks for itself. I truly believe the Foundation is the absolute exemplar of what can be done when an organisation works collaboratively and respectfully with the Traditional Owners.”
- Michelle Lewis, Teacher at Berwick College
Above: Berwick College students completing community service at Watarrka
Watarrka Week is an annual event held by Berwick College, with a range of activities for students and teachers to get involved in, to support the Watarrka Foundation.
Students do the “Walk for Watarrka” which is a fund raising walkathon. This year 300 students walked laps to raise funds. During homegroup for Watarrka Week, activities are held which celebrate the achievements of Indigenous Australians.
The “rock your socks off” day encourages students and teachers to wear loud and colourful socks to school, and bring along a gold coin donation for the Foundation. A talent quest is also held in support of Watarrka Week.
To finish off the week of festivities, almost 1,700 students are gathered in the school gym to watch a clip about the Foundation, which includes footage of the sports & storytelling festival, and Foundation Founder Reg Ramsden speaking about the community. The purpose of the week is to encourage students in understanding the proud Australian Indigenous history, and culture, and to continue in raising awareness and student support for the Watarrka Foundation.
Above: Images from the 2019 Watarrka Week at Berwick College
Berwick College have plans for a trivia night to raise further funds for the Foundation in early 2020, where they will also hold a silent auction of Indigenous Artworks provided by Alpiye Gallery.
On behalf of all of us at the Watarrka Foundation, a huge thank you to the staff and students of Berwick College for their ongoing support!