Above: Staff and students welcome CaSPA Directors at Bathurst Island Airport
As you may be aware Catholic schools play a major role in the education of Tiwi Island families. The only primary and secondary schools in the largest town - Wurrumiyanga - are the Catholic Primary school and Xavier Secondary College. Both schools have dedicated principals, teachers and assistants seeking to provide education in an environment where there are significant challenges. Health and family support are just some of the issues that appear to influence educational outcomes. As a result literacy and numeracy levels are lower than comparable schools elsewhere in the country.
Despite the best efforts of the principals and teachers, attendance remains a challenge. The CaSPA visitors saw first hand evidence of students - some still in primary school - participating in gambling activities along the side of the road.
The visit brought back many memories for one of our Board Members - Ann Rebgetz. Ann and her husband Pat had lived and worked on Bathurst Island in the early 80's. Dr Pat Rebgetz was in fact the first medical practitioner to actually reside on the Tiwi Islands and served that community for a number of years. The work of Pat and Ann Rebgetz was greatly appreciated by the residents and there is a special commemoration of this in the Patakijiyali Museum maintained by Sr Ann - a member of the OLSH congregation - who has spent virtually all her working life serving the people of the Tiwis.
Below: Ann Rebgetz beside the tribute to her husband who passed away four years ago AND Sr Ann OLSH with Andrew Watson
|Tags: Catholic Secondary Principals Australia Indigenous|