Northern Territory sister school students visit Emanuel

August 8, 2019 by Michelle Favero
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A very special group of nine children and four teachers from Jilkminggan School, Emanuel’s sister school in the Northern Territory, recently made the long journey to Sydney for a week-long visit.

Emanuel and Jilkminggan students learning together

The Emanuel connection with Jilkminggan started 10 years ago with a teacher exchange. Over the past years, three groups of Aboriginal students have visited Emanuel and the Jilkminggan community has hosted over 100 Emanuel families, creating close bonds between both schools.

The students had numerous opportunities to interact with their Emanuel friends. Learning and baking together and a very special morning playing with the Pre-schoolers were highlights. The Jilkminggan students explored the best that Sydney has to offer with visits to Taronga Zoo, Bronte and Bondi beaches, Bangarra Dance Company, Shalom College and Nua Gili (Centre for Indigenous Programs at UNSW) and, being stalwart Swans supporters, a much-anticipated tour of the Swans facilities and the SCG.

Scott Ryan the Principal of Jilkminggan School was thrilled with the sharing of cultures. “The students from both schools can grow together from this cultural exchange. The Shabbat service this morning was so educational for our kids as they learnt something, not just experienced something. The trip has taught the Jilkminggan teenagers how to operate in this sort of world, as big city life was abstract until now.”

Year 12 student Angel Mitrani baking with Jilkminggan students

Hayley Walker, Jilkminggan High School teacher said: “Everyone, everywhere we have been all week has been so nice, so accepting and shown our group that life here in Sydney is achievable. Their worlds are so incredibly different but now our students see it is similar enough to be a part of.

“Alfie, one of our 13-year-old students had been so shy that it had impacted his life. He was recently selected to play AFL in Canberra representing the Northern Territory but he could not leave Darwin airport as massive anxiety held him back. This week at Emanuel Alfie has thrived and has totally come out of his shell giving him lifelong confidence to tackle trips like this. The trip has opened up conversations with all nine Jilkminggan students about managing life outside our remote community. Renalda another student also overcame her fear of flying and now understands the benefits of travelling.”

Jilkminggan student Shanayda, said visiting the zoo was a highlight for her especially the seal show. Shakira loved the beaches and beautiful views. She said coming to Emanuel School and meeting people was a wonderful experience. She also liked visiting the Sydney Swans and the SCG as she is a die-hard Swans supporter. Shakira said she might come back to Sydney one day.

Natanya Milner, Head of Primary, and champion of the relationship with the Jilkminggan community, has seen the many ongoing benefits for all the students and even the teachers. “There is something very special to witness children from two vastly different cultures, religions and very different areas of Australia, interacting, discovering and sharing their experiences. The success of our relationship lies in the deep and memorable connections we make. We feel privileged to have hosted Scott, his teachers and the students and look forward to our next visit to Jilkminggan and the Northern Territory in September.”

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