On Tuesday 14 May, the Mount Lilydale Mercy College community and some special guests gathered to shine a light on ‘Now More Than Ever’, the theme for National Reconciliation Week (27 May-2 June).

We welcomed special guests from the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Baan Group, VFLW representative Cassie Davidson (Hawthorn FC) and MLMC alumni Thomas Hobley and Josh Iakovidis, as well as primary school students from St Patrick’s in Lilydale and St Peter Julian Eymard in Mooroolbark. Our guests participated in a ‘smoking ceremony’ conducted by Wurundjeri man Mr Darren Wandin to welcome them to the lands of the Wurundjeri.

We began the assembly with a beautiful Acknowledgement of Country written by our own First Nations students, punctuated in parts in Wurundjeri Woiwurung language.

Our guest speaker was Ms Megan Waters, host of the Yokayi Footy Show on SBS as well as a nutrition and health expert, influencer and manager of a fitness centre. Interviewed by Jordyn and Nick, Megan is a proud Larrakia woman from near Darwin whose grandfather was a child of the stolen generation. Megan urged everyone to genuinely look after and look out for each other so that “when life throws us curve-balls, we can remain on top of our mental wellbeing”.

Year 11 student Amelia I, a Yorta Yorta/Wemba Wemba woman, surrounded in solidarity by College Prefects and Megan, outlined the journey that her mother and her siblings were on to understand and embrace their rich First Nations heritage. Amelia set us all a challenge by boldly stating “Reconciliation is not just a word; it's a call to action. For me, reconciliation is about strengthening the relationship between Indigenous and non-indigenous people for the benefit of all Australians.”

National Reconciliation Week will be celebrated at the College and Amelia challenged the community to “recommit ourselves to the journey of reconciliation”.

Principal Mr Philip Morison announced a Walkathon will be held to raise money for the commissioning and purchase of a sculpture of ‘Bunjil’, to be mounted at the top of the College driveway. Mr Morison reminded those assembled of the need to, “Now, more than ever, explore how each of us can work together in the cause of reconciliation, to (actively) connect, respect and (take) action”.

We thank the College Choir for their performances of Ngarra Burra Ferra (a Yorta Yorta song about the escape of the Israelites from Pharoah’s tyranny) and Inanay (a lullaby from the Torres Strait Islands).

Photos by Mr Matthew Reilly.

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