'FIRE' carrier Forum 2014 (Friends Igniting Reconciliation in Education

2 May 2014 | General Interest

It was a beautiful sunny day on the 19th of March, as our four year five FIRE carrier students accompanied by two FIRE carrier teachers went to the Edmund Rice Centre at Amberley. It was a special gathering day for all FIRE carrier students representing many of the Catholic Primary Schools in the North Easter Zone. The day was facilitated by teachers and members from ‘Aboriginal Catholic Ministry’ and several guest speakers.

We were welcomed by Vicki Clark and Rachel Shields, who invited us to visualise the banks of the Yarra River hundreds of years ago, to hear the sounds of the kookaburras and look to the skies for ‘Bunjil’ the eagle and creator Spirit. We were transformed through the tranquillity and silence to a time long ago and not so familiar. We listened to the beautiful voice of Rachel who sang a song she had composed about the ‘river’

We sat in circles and watched as the fire was lit and burnt brightly. We listened to the story of the significance of fire to Aboriginal people. As the story was told, each school brought forth a painted panel of symbols that reflected symbols of each school and their commitment to Reconciliation. Each panel carefully and strategically placed, gradually forming the full image and showing the connection of all schools through the painted journey pathway

The bold, red pathway symbolised all schools travelling together on a shared journey of Reconciliation.

The students were led by Eva Jo Edwards in listening to traditional Aboriginal music and rhythms, listening for bird calls and then creatively dancing to tell stories of fishing, picking and sharing berries.

It was wonderful to see schools coming together and engaging fully in story and dance.

We were fortunate to hear from other FIRE carrier secondary students and staff from ‘Genazzano Catholic College’. They spoke of their experiences and personal significance of becoming FIRE carriers.

Students interacted and talked about their school experiences and reflected on their journey so far as newly commissioned FIRE carriers. They recorded their experiences and feelings and thought on actions they might take back at School.

Shouts of surprise and joy arose when Adam Goodes (Australian of the Year and Sydney Swans player) appeared in a video sending a special greeting to all the FIRE carriers. The students decided to send back a response in one united loud voice.

It was a truly engaging, spiritual and day filled with learning and fun.