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Shalom Christian College took a group of 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff over to New Zealand from the 14-22 October on a Cultural and Sporting Tour. This was the school's first international trip since the school was established in 1992.
The year 10, 11 and 12 students from all over Northern Australia were selected for excellent attendance and attitude. None of the students have ever held a passport, been overseas or have seen snow before.
At Shalom we think it is extremely important for our students to know, understand and be proud of their culture, blending tradition with that of Western influences. This experience served as an opportunity to share culture with New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori. It also acted as catalyst for students to broaden their horizons and to aspire to be leaders of our school and their communities.
Highlights of the trip included visiting Auckland, Rotorua, Turangi and Waitomo.
Visiting attractions such as thermal springs, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, attending cultural performances, skiing and snowboarding at Mt Ruhapehu and spending time at Te Kura O Hirangi School (a Maori school) in Turangi.
I have no doubts that the trip has been life changing for all involved. Students returned to school with improved confidence and self-esteem, proud of their culture and with a focus on working hard to better their lives in the future and to put themselves in a position to take any opportunities that may arise.
Carlie-Ann Southward - Deception Bay/ Yam Island/ Badu Island
Sarina Akiba - Lockhart River/ Saibai Island/ Badu Island
Kiann Walsh - Townsville/ Palm Island
Seanne Jervis - Townsville
Reanne O'Keefe - Mt Isa
Teagan Ryder - Alice Springs
Listisha Baker - Elcho Island
Auntaijah Johnson - Townsville
Janaya Sarmardin - Townsville/ Mt Isa
Stewart Smith - Woorabinda
Aaron O'Brien - Townsville
Cody Sturt - Townsville
Lesley Phillips-Bangarr - Gunbalanya
Javarn Canendo - Townsville/ Palm Island