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Our School - Nova Peris Girls Academy
Nova Peris Girls Academy closed in December 2013
Check out Nova's video and learn about why she started the Nova Peris Girls Academy!
NOVA TO MAKE HISTORY...AGAIN
The Nova Peris Girls Academy (NPGA) is excited to travel to Canberra to witness history as academy founder and patron, Nova Peris, is sworn in as a Senator for the Northern Territory.
This will be of particular significance in Australian Politics as Mrs Peris will be the first Indigenous woman elected to our Federal Parliament.
A couple of lucky NPGA girls will be making their way down to Canberra along with Academy Officer Jessica Peris for this momentous occasion.
Mrs Peris hopes to continue to be a strong role model to people from all walks of life, in particular, young Australians, and looks forward to continuing her involvement with the NPGA as patron.
Mrs Peris will be sworn Tuesday 12th November at 9am (10.30am AEST) at the Senate Chamber of the Australian Parliament House in Canberra.
KIA MOTORS SUPPORTING NPGA
We are very excited to announce that Kia Motors are sponsoring the NPGA and have provided the academy with the use of 2 Brand new Kia Carnival Platinums! This is wonderful news and will make a huge difference in transporting the academy girls around Darwin without having to rely on the availability of the school coaster bus or 12 seater.
We hope everyone has a very safe and enjoyable mid year break. We look forward to everyone returning for an action packed Term 3 where there will be many more new and really exciting things in stall for the NPGA. Stay tuned...
NPGA Director of
The Nova Peris Girls’ Academy (NPGA) made its way down to Melbourne for the second year in a row to participate in ‘The Long Walk’ and attend AFL’s Indigenous Round at The MCG to watch Essendon V Richmond. Michael Long famously walked from Melbourne to Canberra as a political statement in 2004 to meet up with the then Prime Minister John Howard to get Indigenous issues back on the National agenda. Michael Long and Nova Peris both attended St John’s Catholic College in Darwin, making this, now an annual academy trip all the more special. We chose 7 fantastic NPGA students to attend: Claire Rogers, Daisy Pott, Kiara Butcher, Singita Campion, Carlene Budden, Nakita Furber and Estelle King. 5/7 had never been to Melbourne and it was Carlene’s first time on a plane! The students chosen have shown significant, positive improvement in their schooling and their personal lives too. The girls were all rugged up and that cold air hit their faces upon getting off the plane and collecting our bags that were kindly donated by our wonderful sponsor Sonney Roth the owner of Antler Luggage. The young ladies knew it was going to be cold but there is a difference in knowing something and feeling something! We jumped in the cars that were lent to us by the legendary Iain Graham from Red Energy. We headed off to our accommodation in the suburb of Kew, on the edge of Melbourne city. We had two beautiful self-contained apartments. The girls unpacked their possessions and wrote a shopping list before we all headed to the Coles to buy our food. Everyone worked well in a team getting all the food required for dinners and brekkies. That night Jessica taught the girls how to make lovely Mexican food in Tacos and Burritos. They were delicious and everyone was full up. Jessica then showed the girls how to make Custard for dessert to have on either cake or ice cream. Everyone was tired from the days travel and the cooler temps made the girls want to get warm in their beds.
Day 4 – Everyone enjoyed a good sleep in and a quick bite to eat then piled back into the Kia cars and into the city. We stopped by a park where they were having a political rally to try and get Victoria to sign up to Gonski education reforms. A man had a small cage with rabbits and guinea pigs and the girls nursed and patted them. We had a kick of the footy then we strolled to Federation Square for The Long Walk Celebrations. We posted up at a restaurant in the middle of Fed Square and our new friend Sonney Roth again shouted us all a beautiful Japanese lunch.
There were bands playing traditional music, juggling station, face painting as well as many stalls set up promoting everything indigenous. Cathy Freeman posed for a photo, a massive highlight for many NPGA girls. She was lovely and Nova and her were chatting and laughing like old times as Nova introduced all the girls. Before we knew it, it was time to begin the Long Walk to the MCG. Michael Long was obviously up front and a few of the NPGA girls managed to get along side him, even getting their head on TV a few times! Upon approaching the G, the anticipation levels were growing. The girls were gleaming with excitement at the thought of walking out on to the hallow turf of an amazing sporting icon of Australia.
The atmosphere was electric and the girls were laughing and having a great time. We eventually made it to our fantastic seats after a walk across the ground. The seats were terrific and oh so close to the action. It was an exciting game of footy and the Bombers got the win in the end, comfortably. Due to Antler being one of the Bombers great sponsors, Sonney had organised Bombers change room passes so we made our way down and got to talk to the players, get autographs and even kick the footy in the warm up rooms. Everyone got photos with all the players and even had a chat to the Coach James Hird. By the time we had finished up there, the crowds had dispersed making it easy for us to get out and walk back to the cars. Everyone was pretty worn out by this stage which ensured a good nights rest.
Day 5 – Another well-deserved sleep in then we got up to pack our things and make sure the rooms were tidy for checkout. Everyone did a great job working together to get the job done really quickly. We packed up the cars and headed over to friends Sonney & Emily’s place for a traditional Jewish brunch. The spread was unbelievable with fresh bagels, dips, quiche, meats and cheese. Singita was trying everything as she did the whole trip. She experienced many new foods for the first time. The pet dog “Barney” was a big hit and entertained the girls. He is a big dog, with long, shaggy hair and is full of energy! After devouring brunch we all headed off to Royal Melbourne Zoo for the afternoon. Sonney & Emily paid for everyone to get in, extremely generous people and we were all very gracious. The zoo was incredible with many new enclosures only recently opened. We saw gorillas, chimps, lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, birds big and small as well as the lovely butterfly enclosure. Most of the girls had never been to a zoo before so their eyes were popping out of their head and their smiles long and wide looking at the vast array of animals. By mid afternoon everyone was becoming a bit weary and we decided to go back to Sonney and Em’s place to relax until dinner. Some girls had a rest and watched some television and some girls went with Jess for one last hit of shopping. We said our goodbyes to our new, dear friends and made our way out to have a last dinner with the Mirabella’s. The food kept on coming again as expected; I really don’t think the girls had ever eaten so much in their lives. Another sensational feed to keep us going before boarding the plane back to Darwin. All the girls got the Jetstar Ipads to keep them entertained. We arrived at the airport, checked in and Iain came and grabbed the car keys from us. It was very kind of Iain and the company Red Energy in lending us transport for the trip. We made it back to Darwin safe and sound, Nicole from boarding collected the girls and that was the end of an amazing trip and one the girls will talk about for a lifetime. We were very humbled by the generosity of Sonney & Em, Iain and the Mirabella’s. They not only financially contributed, they ensured we were looked after as well. They are all genuine supporters of Aboriginal Australia and Reconciliation. Beautiful people and some strong friendships forged. We look forward to next year where we will be back to Melbourne again.
Scott Appleton – Director of Operations NPGA
FOOD/ COFFEE VAN
The NPGA are the proud owners of a food/coffee van! The purpose of this van is to allow the academy girls training and experience in making coffees, food preparation, customer service and cash handling. We were invited to the local community of Bagot where we sold toasted sandwiches, tea & coffee and frozen slushies. We were also able to utilize the van for Sacred Heart Day down at Mindil Beach. Thank you to Zedvina Cox, Aiyana Gallagher and Kitty Pott for their work on these occasions. The NPGA donated $100 from the sales to go towards fundraising for the St John’s Catholic College’s upcoming trip to Ireland. In Term 3, we hope to put many of the NPGA students through their barista course and food prep with Karen Sheldon Catering. Exciting times for the NPGA and SJC.
Mr Scott Appleton NPGA Director of Operations
The girls chosen were Claire Rogers, Kitty Pott, Nakita Ferber, Skye Roberts and Daisy Pott accompanied by Jessica Peris. The PM shook all the girls hands and asked them what they wanted to do after they finished school. Prime Minister Gillard was in Darwin to officially open the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education at CDU. The facility was amazing, had great ambiance and was very impressive indeed. The girls couldn't believe how tiny Ms Gillard was, even noticing her small feet! Everyone really enjoyed the experience and were captivated by the presence of the leader of our Country. She comes across very warm and engages well with students. After the ceremony we all had some light refreshments, took some photos and even got to take home a small gift - Aboriginal Dillibag made of fabric with traditional artworks. A wonderful day and a very unique experience for our girls to take home. It is great to expose these amazing kids to strong women in positions of power.
The NPGA girls were lucky enough to get a visit from Australia’s own soul diva and iconic Indigenous entertainer Christine Anu. I’m sure everyone remembers her beautiful rendition of the song ‘My Island Home’. Nova bumped into Christine at the Qantas lounge where she happened to be flying to Darwin for an event and was kind enough to spare some time to visit St Johns. She met a group of the excited academy girls as well as making a cameo appearance in Miss V’s class too where she shared some good stories and posed for many photos!
On Saturday 9th March 2013, Nova & Jess picked up Daisy Pott, Courtney Cox and Clair Rogers from the boarding house to take them into the city to walk from Parliament House around the block of Darwin City. The streets were blocked off, the streets lined with people to watch several hundred women who were marching along with big smiles to celebrate International Women's Day. The girls got to meet the NT leader of the opposition in Delia Lawrie who posed for a photo with the academy girls. It was a fantastic morning and the young NPGA women felt special to be apart of the wonderful celebration to mark the achievements of women from all walks of life and the great improvements that have been made in the lives of women over time.
Our way of Giving Back
The NPGA rocked up to the mall in the centre of Darwin City to help NPGA partner ‘Life Without Barriers’ with their event for the 2012 National Disability Week.
The partnership with Life Without barriers is going from strength to strength with their co-coordinator mentioning several of our girls that seem to have what it takes to be able to gain employment in disability care! Well done.
NT Stolen Generation - Seniors Christmas Party
The NPGA hosted the 2012 NT Stolen Generation Christmas Party! 15 Academy Girls in the last term made gifts for the Elders and on the day, 7 academy girls helped prepare all the decorations, table settings as well as prepare a three-course meal for the dear old people. TEABBA radio did a live broadcast from the event that was held at The St Mary’s Football Club. Many of the old ladies got up for a dance and were delighted to hear some of their favourite tunes being played throughout the lunch.
In total there were 105 people in attendance. Local school kids from Holy Spirit sang some Christmas carols and sounded fantastic. There were a few other performances from the NPGA girls also which kept the crowd thoroughly entertained clapping away in support. Santa turned up and everyone received a lovely present. The NPGA girls made some arts and crafts gifts at school and handed them out as well, a beautiful gesture.
There was such a pleasant vibe throughout the lunch and many of the old people came up to Nova to thank her and the academy girls for their efforts. Some mentioned it was the best Xmas party they had ever been to and particularly liked being waited on by the eager academy girls all the music too from TEABBA radio was a highlight and made the guests cheery and in the Christmas spirit. All the NPGA ladies felt a sense of pride in giving something back to the community, particularly to the Stolen Generation mob for what they had to endure and the sacrifices they made to pave the way for the youth of today.
It was a Brilliant and most memorable event for everyone. It also embarks a new beginning of a wonderful working partnership with the NT Stolen Generations!
Stolen Generations - Children's Christmas
After a successful Xmas Party event with NT Stolen Generation mob it was now all the kiddies turn to have their Chrissy Party! NPGA were there again to help coordinate this. The venue was Malak community centre, a wonderful facility for all the kids to have a fantastic time.
The NPGA girls put up all the streamers and blew up the balloons. The music system was set up in the hall and the tunes had everyone in the party mood. The BBQ was fired up, nibbles were on the plates, party pies in the oven and cocktail frankfurts on the stove…the smells were amazing!
The energetic kids began rocking up in their droves and were straight into the tucker. A total of 86 people were in attendance! Face painting stations were once again a feature with the kids lining up to get painted by the NPGA girls. It wasn’t too long before Santa came in ringing his loud bell. All the kids sat down in the hall in anticipation for receiving some gifts from the big guy!
Everyone received a present and was very excited, running out to their parents who were also enjoying themselves relaxing with some lunch and catching up with old friends. Everyone on a high in the lead up to Christmas Day! After a few hours all the kiddies were out the door and off home feeling very happy about their day of fun and excitement. The clean up seemed enormous but with all the NPGA girls chipping in, it was executed perfectly and in record time. Once again a successful event leaving everyone on a high in the lead up to Christmas Day!
After a few hours all the kiddies were out the door and off home feeling very happy about their day of fun and excitement. The clean up seemed enormous but with all the NPGA girls chipping in, it was executed perfectly and in record time. Once again a successful event leaving everyone on a high in the lead up to Christmas Day!
DisabiliTEA in Darwin
On Friday 26th October 2012, The Nova Peris Girls’ Academy of St Johns Catholic College and on behalf of ‘Life without Barriers’, coordinated and hosted the ‘DisabiliTEA as part of a nationwide tea party to acknowledge and celebrate the many orginasitions that deliver fantastic services to those with disabilities. It also raises awareness to call on the Government to introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
We had 18 St Johns NPGA girls in attendance to set up the entire event including the Schools BBQ, The Box Jellyfish mobile Café, marquees, tables & chairs, the food & drinks as well as all the games & activities.
Once all the guests arrived the academy girls were brilliant in engaging and befriending all of the disability clients and their respective carers. Everyone enjoyed some light refreshments, carefully prepared by the NPGA girls. There were pancakes (made from scratch!) Sausage sandwiches, fresh cut up fruit, juice and ice cold water in what was a typically steamy Darwin morning.
We counted over 100 people in attendance throughout the two and a half hours, which was fantastic! St Johns principal Mr. David Johns came along for a feed and was impressed with the Academy girls and how they were conducting themselves.
Chief Minister Terry Mills sent his apologies, as there was a sitting in Parliament on at the same time. However, newly elected Member for Arafura Mr. Xavier Francis showed his support in attendance, which was fantastic.
Jess Peris and Nova along with all the academy girls showed the disability mob all the games while the music was pumping on the stereo making everyone cheery. There was a giant chess set, life size snakes & ladders, mega building blocks, ring toss and the rainbow parachute. Nova’s youngest daughter, 10 year-old Destiny, was doing all the face painting to the delight of the intrigued onlookers. Destiny was very creative; everyone had different and very detailed pictures on their faces in all shapes and sizes!
A large canvas was laid out where everyone in attendance put his or her painted handprint on as a means of coming together. Some sat there and came up with their own designs too.
Everywhere you looked there was fun activities going on, coordinated by academy girls where everyone was getting involved. The sounds of laughter were imminent and everyone was interacting harmoniously. The girls have now mastered how to make coffees for the adults thanks to the hands on experience in The Box Jellyfish Café!
The NPGA is now looking forward to the next 4 weeks where they will be hosting and coordinating their next community event in ‘The Northern Territory Stolen Generations Seniors Xmas Party’ The girls now have the hands on experience, required skills and confidence to carry out the event with great pride about giving back to the community at large.
A big thanks to Coles for their donation that supplied all the lovely food and drinks for the breaky! Thank you to Amy Lewis from Life Without Barriers whom we are pleased to say the NPGA have now formed a brilliant partnership with! Thank you to Darwin City Council for allowing us on to the spectacular Darwin Esplanade and for the use of their giant games & activities. Thanks to Matty Ahmat for allowing us to use the Box Jelly Fish Café. Thanks to both Wayne & Wayne of St Johns College for delivering the School BBQ. Big thanks to Pam & Ngaire for bringing down all the kids in the school bus and helping out during the event.
NPGA Sydney Camp - July 2012
In the last week of the month of school holidays the Nova Peris Girls Academy (NPGA) arranged for ten academy girls to fly into Darwin from their remote communities earlier than expected in order to take them to Sydney for the U/18 National 3 on 3 Basketball championships! Nova lined up Current Sydney Flames Captain and fellow Olympian Alicia Poto to train and coach the girls for the weeklong sporting excellence camp! The girls stayed for a couple of nights with NPGA staff on transit to the big smoke in Sydney. St John’s College Assistant Principal Pam Kenyon also helped house a few of the girls too, which was fantastic, a great help indeed. Pam and Nova both own Jet skis so the girls got to have a day at the beach, a pre camp highlight! The sun was shining and many laughs were shared on the Darwin Beach of Cullen Bay.
Eight out of the ten girls had never even been to Sydney before, making the trip all the more special. Nova pre-sented academy members with their very own bright green NPGA tracksuit to wear for the week during competition as well as keep to remember this special occasion. align=right>We touched down on the East Coast early hours Monday morning after the red eye flight from Darwin. We then hopped into the hire cars bound for Redfern where we had accommodation at the prestigious National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE). The NCIE’s world-class facilities are a landmark cultural es-tablishment ideally set in the heart of Redfern on the outskirts of the City itself. The facilities make for a culturally infused and quality local experience, making up an important component to all NPGA camps.
The girls had a brief look around and got their bearings of the place then headed off to their rooms for a quick nap. They all got up after a well earned rest and had some lunch from the kitchens of the NCIE before piling back into the cars to visit Sydney’s iconic Luna Park! The girls were very excited and tried out all the rides the adventure park had to offer! Some of the thrill seekers were more daring than others, nonetheless everyone enjoyed the experience. All the girls were uploading their pictures to show family and friends all the fun they were having.
The fun filled day didn’t stop there… Nova’s good friend and Rugby League legend - David Peachey organized some tickets to The South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs. Sydney Roosters Monday night NRL match at Allianz Stadium. We had a beautiful dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Fox Studios then braved the chilly temps walking to the Stadium. The excitement and fireworks before the match had the girls in awe as all the players ran out on the field. A down to the wire finish with the Rabbits getting the win in what was a close encounter. Many of the girls told their families they were at the game and were lucky enough to get their faces on television! Upon getting back to NCIE it wasn’t long before lights were out and everyone was snoring!
7:30am rise and shine with a hearty breakfast in the dining hall, the girls were bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to hit the courts for their first training session. The Flames Captain Alicia Poto or affectionately known as ‘Pottsy’ joined us on the courts and introduced herself to the NPGA girls making a wonderful instant impression. It was straight down to business and the girls were involved in all the ball drills and game plans just like professional basket ballers. Pottsy was more than impressed with the girls raw talent and honed in on improving the girls technique in particular. After a fabulous and in the end, quite a decent workout, the girls hit the showers.Everyone then headed into Westfield Shopping Centre to buy some gifts for family, friends and of course themselves as well as have some down time before all the basketball action the next few days. After shopping the girls had their afternoon training session. We trained twice a day, mornings and afternoons leading up to the tournament. We had some dinner back at the NCIE before going to watch the Sydney Flames women’s basketball team train and do fitness testing. Pottsy sat with the girl’s courtside and explained all the training activities taking place as well as the rigors of an elite basket baller. The academy girls really got a lot out of watch-ing how professional basketball training is done. The flames players came over and spoke with us all and handed out team show bags! After the training session we went to the cinemas to watch a movie and relax. All the girls enjoyed themselves and had a good laugh. Nova invited a good friend of hers and fellow Aboriginal Olympian not to mention Australia’s fastest ever sprinter in Patrick Johnson. The girls all introduced themselves and Patrick came along to watch the movie and also showed the girls ‘Max Brenner Chocolate Café’ afterwards. The girl’s eyes all certainly lit up at the sight of all the chocolate variety on show! It tasted even better!
The next morning the academy girls were up and about early and ready for the commencement of the much-anticipated tournament. It was now routine getting up early, having breakfast and preparing for training and games. After a short drive into very familiar territory for Nova – Sydney Olympic Park, we arrived eager to play. The girls looked fantastic in their uniforms and we were fortunate enough to have 2 teams entering into the competition. The games were fast paced and action packed, coming up against some very good competition from all the other States & Territories of Australia. There were some amazing passages of play and the NPGA girls played very well even taking it up to Victoria Metro only to go down by 7 points! The girls managed to beat the ACT in a fantastic performance where there was some amazing shooting and strong defensive skills. It certainly was an action packed day and the girls were all the more wise for the experience. Many other teams players and officials were interested in who and where the girls were all from. Pottsy coached her heart out and was a real hit with the girls who seemed to really warm and confide in her. It was a full day and many games of basketball were played leaving the girls tired and drained. We all drove back to NCIE to get some dinner, shower up and go to bed ready for the next day’s competition. Nova gave the girls some good advice about recovery techniques and hydration.
The girls were up bright and early once again for another fantastic breaky provided by NCIE. Some of the girls had some muscle soreness and Nova reminded them to do a longer warm up once we reached the courts. When we arrived back at Sydney Olympic Park, the girls stretched up and did some run throughs and then it was straight back into the action! The girls were really starting to know each others game and the teamwork and efforts were fantastic to watch. It was always going to be a hard task paying against established and seasoned rep basket ballers from the big cities in a national carnival. But that is the whole concept of the NPGA – exposing these girls to what is out there and what can be achieved if you really want to! Pottsy spoke really well to the girls and was full of praise for their efforts. We stayed on to watch the Grand Final between South Australia Metro and Victoria Country. Vic Country taking the prize in a good game. Shania Smiler got the girls all breaking it down and dancing in the grandstands to the amusement of everyone. The NT girls were undoubtedly having the most fun and showed more character than any other team at the carnival!
The NPGA girls left Sydney Olympic Park with their heads held high. We then drove down to Darling Harbour for a long walk and jumped into a water taxi to go under the Sydney Harbour Bridge! All the girls had their mobile phones out recording the ride, all with their mouths open in amazement at the sheer size of the bridge. We were dropped off at the base of the Sydney Opera House, another amazing structure for the girls to explore. As we walked back toward the cars there was a nice old man with a sign offering free hugs! Jenneille Martin gave the old fella a hug, a very funny moment leaving everyone in stitches of laughter! An even longer day than the last had us driving back to NCIE to watch a DVD in until it was time to go back to the airport and fly back to Darwin. The girls had an incredible time away and were glowing with self-pride and accomplishment. They all now have so many stories to tell all their mates and more importantly their loving families back home in their respective communities. All in all it was another fun and successful Nova Peris Girls Academy trip away.
NPGA Melbourne Camp - May 2012
10 very lucky young ladies were selected for NPGA’s first ever camp to fly down to Melbourne to be apart of ‘The Long Walk’ celebrations for 2012. The Long Walk is a charity that was inspired by Michael Long’s walk from Melbourne to Canberra to get the lives of Indigenous people back on to the National Agenda.
We boarded the plane at Darwin airport with all the girls extremely excited and a few that had never even been to Melbourne before! Everyone received their Academy hoody jumper to wear, kindly sponsored by Dr Catriona Wallaces’ company Fifth Quadrant. Spirits were high and there were many laughs shared on the plane. Some girls chatted the whole way, some watched movies and some simply drifted off to sleep. Upon arrival and out into the open air, the cold wind hit the girls and the look on some of the faces was priceless! ‘Welcome to Melbourne!’ Nova quipped. Lucky we had the warm NPGA jumpers!
After getting our mini bus we headed off to the shops to get breakfast supplies for each room. We then proceeded to the accommodation in a suburb called Oakleigh - 25mins out of the city. We had 3 townhouse apartments where the girls were paired up and divided off into the rooms with a staff member in each.
The girls were all decked out in their Winter Pyjamas - everyone found that hilarious! After a long days travel, the lights were out, heaters were on high and the eyes were soon shut.
The girls were up and about after a light breakfast and ready for the jam-packed itinerary to begin. We went straight into the City to visit the Direct Factory Outlets where the girls bought various things like new shoes for their basketball games, warm clothes for the football, mobile phones and a few gifts for various family members. We had some lunch then went for a little walk around the streets of Melbourne. The trams were a highlight for most and some of the girls who had not been to a big city before were checking out all the tall buildings and busy traffic!
We then jumped into the bus and went to visit one of our program partners in pharmaceutical Company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). They welcomed us, did a presentation and gave us all afternoon tea. Their offices were high up and had panoramic views all the way out to the famous MCG. The girls learnt about their products and the company itself as well as chatted at length to several staff members of GSK. There was a large balcony where we all sampled some fruit and various cakes along with a few glasses of juice. All the camera phones were snapping away because the views over Melbourne City were magnificent and the sun was out making everything beautiful and bright! Kalena Luta got up and thanked the workers of GSK on behalf of NPGA for inviting us for an afternoon tea visit. We are very grateful for the partnership as well as the medicinal products GSK will be giving to St Johns College.
After our sponsors visit we then went to the Supermarket where we all had to do a shop for our ‘Progressive Dinner’ for the evening. Jeannette Carroll’s group had the entrée to buy for, Nova Peris’ group had the main meal and Jessica Peris’ group had the dessert. Everyone was given a budget that they had to stick to and each group was not allowed to know what the other group planned to cook. Some wrote lists, some had it all in their head and some were so creative that they forgot to get some items! In the end we all did what we had to do!
Team leaders rallied their troops and the cook off started with everyone having a job to do. The outcome was fantastic and the girls showed a sense of ownership over their creations. Each and every person was proud at the meals they helped produce. There were special meatballs, pastries and footy franks, roast meat, vegies and caramel/choc tarts with ice cream on offer! Whilst the food was cooking, Jess Peris was giving all the girls various beauty treatments. There was eyebrow waxing, facials and hair dying. The girls loved and certainly appreciated it! After the smorgasbord of food a select few of the girls were brilliant and showed great initiative with commencing the cleaning duties, whereas some girls seemed to magically disappear! For our first camp though it was fantastic to have such great helpers without the staff having to even ask! Something I am sure will get better and better the more camps we go on together.
We were up and at them again the next morning where Nova was teaching the girls in her room how to make an omelette! It was very tasty indeed. After breakfast we jumped into the bus and headed off for a day with Richmond Football Club on Punt Rd. We were led on a tour of the facilities of the club as well as doing the Michael Long ‘Walk the talk’ cultural learning program. The girls learnt all about the reasons for Michael Long’s stance and the direction he has taken since becoming such an ongoing, powerful voice from an AFL perspective. It was interesting to note that the then Prime Minister John Howard was reluctant to meet with Michael at first. I think he may have been embarrassed at the fact that he knew well that Aboriginal Affairs were not overly high on the agenda of everyday Australia. There were some powerful images on the PowerPoint presentation that I am sure the girls will remember forever.
Michael Long came in at the end of the session to personally have a chat to the group, which was fantastic! You could hear a pin drop as the kids were soaking up every word he spoke. Cathy Freeman was also present with some kids from remote Qld. All 3 Aboriginal Superstars in Long, Peris and Freeman spoke at the end of the lesson and the crowd was in awe. It really is fantastic to see such great role models giving back to the youth of Australia. An amazing start to the day! The girls got to go down on to the oval and kick some footie’s as well as get plenty of photos and autographs with the cream of Australia’s greatest sporting identities!
We all piled back into the bus and were then on our way to Windy Hill to visit the Essendon Football Club. We went straight out on to the ground where the girls were greeted by some of the current Bombers Aboriginal superstars in Paddy Ryder, Alwyn Davey, Leeroy Jetta and Courtenay Dempsey. The girls got some autographs and plenty of photos before heading back inside the club where we were treated to a nice lunch and some guest speakers in Melbourne Vixens netballer Kate Beveridge and Australian wheelchair basket baller Dylan Alcott. It was wonderful to hear their stories of success in the sporting world, especially Dylan who certainly maximised his opportunities by winning gold at the Beijing Paralympics. The girls got to hold his Gold medal too!
We then went off to do some more shopping at some Factory Outlets again. Shoes seemed to be the popular items of choice! The girls were all shopped out and we headed back to Essendon Football club for a beautiful dinner of pasta and salad. The Under 21 Indigenous AFL team were there too and they had a few presentations that made the dinner all the more entertaining. The day wasn’t finished there…off to the MCG we went for the Friday Night Blockbuster 2011 Grand Final replay in Collingwood V Geelong! It was very exciting for the group because the majority of girls had never set foot inside the magical MCG. We bought some blow up hands and other items for the girls who were Magpies fans and in we went! It was an amazing game with over 80,000 people cheering on their respective clubs. A wonderful experience and first impression of Australia’s most renowned sporting venue. The girls had a great night and the smiles were ear to ear the whole time. A few of them sampled a good old ‘Four n Twenty’ pie with sauce too, an experience all Aussies should have I believe! Collingwood ended up getting the victory in a close and very exciting contest.
After getting home from the footy relatively late we decided to let the girls have a decent sleep in…Jeannette was up and cooking porridge in her room, ready for the girls to rise and shine for breakfast…well nearly lunch actually! It was then time to depart our townhouses and head back into the city for the Long Walk festivities before the big ‘Dreamtime at the G’ game between the Bombers and the Tigers. Nova had a few media jobs to do, one that included being a guest on the Marngrook footy show. All the girls got to watch Nova speak in front of all the cameras and show her support to Micky Long – a former St Johns Catholic College student like Nova!
There were many different workshops and Aboriginal celebrations on the banks of the Yarra river and the girls all felt a sense of pride to be involved and participating in something so relevant, up to date and culturally specific. We made our way to a nice little Italian restaurant on the edge of Federation Square, opposite the famous Flinders St Station where we had gourmet pizzas and hot chocolates before the march to the footy. Nova had more corporate speaking events to attend to with all the federal politicians in attendance at a couple of private functions in the MCG.
Jeannette and Jessica led the girls all decked out in their bright yellow ‘Long walk’ shirts to the front of the parade. There were around 5000 people who participated in the actual walk to the MCG. The girls got to walk out on the ground breathing in the entire atmosphere of it all! There were dancers, fireworks, lights, big props and many wonderful performances before the start of the epic clash of two very traditional Victorian football clubs. The girls were ecstatic with the TV cameras zooming in and out on them whilst they were on the actual grass of the hallowed turf of ‘The G’. Meanwhile up in the corporate section Nova spoke very well and talked about her involvement with the deadly girls of St Johns Catholic College in Darwin. Audience members included the likes of the honourable Mr Peter Garrett and leader of the opposition Mr Tony Abbott. If St Johns was not heard of before, it certainly is now!
The match itself was another ripper and anybody could have won! In the end the bombers stepped up and showed more guts to take the 4 premiership points! Many of the girls had sore throats from all the cheering amongst another strong crowd of above 80,000.
After another late night at the MCG en