Schools Walking Together

A Week of Connection with Goodooga Central School

This week we welcomed students and Goodooga Central School (GCS) staff. The visit was organised by the charity Connecting Communities Australia, in partnership with Goodooga Central School and International Grammar School, as part of the Schools Walking Together Program.

The Schools Walking Together Program is an intercultural exchange between two schools – IGS and GCS – supported by the charity organisation CCA. The inaugural Indigenous Games held at Wentworth Park this week is one of the many vital elements included in the program. 

Schools Walking Together involves Goodooga Central School coming to Sydney and IGS, and IGS going out on Country in Goodooga. It is based on the vision of encouraging friendships between communities while privileging Aboriginal perspectives and voices through on Country learning, with the goal of enhancing the education and learning of staff and students alike. The program is called Schools Walking Together because it is about schools and communities walking together in the spirit of reconciliation.

The Goodooga and IGS students spent three days together, undertaking corporate visits with Qantas and Lendlease, an immersion day at our school, and finishing with the Indigenous Games, with other schools invited to attend. Early in the visit, students watched the Rabbitohs game against Parramatta, followed by a dinner where Rabbitohs player Cody Walker joined them to share inspiring stories.

During their day at school, Goodooga students were paired with IGS students in various classes, creating an invaluable opportunity for cultural exchange and mutual learning. Mary Duma and IGS Head Girl Charlotte and Head Boy Sammi joined special guests, including Yuwaalaraay Elder Aunty Karen, Murrawarri Elder Uncle Kev, Yuwaalaraay Elder and Educator Mindy Gibbs, GCS Principal Malcolm Banks, and GCS English Teacher Colin Rogers, for morning tea. 

Afterward, Goodooga guests were guided on a comprehensive tour of IGS by IGS student Nyree Davison and the day continued with a recess in the Peace Garden, accompanied by Megan Sampson, Acting Coordinator of Indigenous Partnerships, before everyone participated in an engaging Art Workshop led by Aunty in Residence, Bianca Caldwell.

The school day ended with basketball and Oz tag, building excitement for Wednesday’s Schools Walking Together Indigenous Games.

The planning for this special trip has been delayed three years, two years due to COVID and last year due to floods! We wish to recognise and acknowledge the committed work done by so many people and communities to bring this program to life. Mindy Gibbs, Yuwaalaraay educator and IGS Language Teacher and Coordinator of Indigenous Partnerships, Lucy Howard-Shibuya, have put this program together with Glenn Price, with huge support from people like Jade Carr and Megan Sampson, and Malcolm Banks, Principal of GCS, as well as Yuwaalaraay Elders – Aunty Karen and Uncle Kev – who travelled over 800 km with us to Sydney this last week.

Special thanks to Megan Sampson, our Acting Coordinator of Indigenous Partnerships, who took on the coordination of Tuesday’s student visit to IGS and the Games on Wednesday. Thank you Megan!

This visit by Goodooga Central School to International Grammar School has left an indelible mark on the journey of both institutions, strengthening a mutual commitment to Schools Walking Together.