All about Wugubank…
Wugubank, was named collectively by Penbank children and the first cohort of Wugularr students who visited Penbank 2010. We are two schools from opposite ends of the continent. We are community oriented, encouraging students to learn well and become principled and upstanding citizens. Now in our eleventh year, we continue to undertake visits to each other’s communities for our upper primary kids, teachers and community members. Wugularr School is located in the Beswick community, 100 km south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
The evolvement of Wugubank has seen an awakening of awareness and friendship between both school communities. Importantly, it is a two-way relationship. The children involved learn that engaging in education promotes lifelong learning and opens doors for future pathways. They learn that family interactions are the hub of life.
As each community welcomes the other on their annual visits, the children take great pride in sharing their culture, their home country and their family. In doing so, they are learning and appreciating more of their home roots – their identity. These connections demonstrate the core human values of trust, respect and understanding. Through the Wugubank Partnership, hands of friendship are being reached across the country – the Outback and the sea.
The purpose of the Wugubank Partnership is to provide an educative experience for Indigenous and non-indigenous children from different backgrounds and environments. It is based on the premise that young children naturally interact with each other and are not unduly affected by the barriers of culture or language. Children are generally free from prejudice and purely love to play and learn. In a school setting, and through structured and appropriate educational exchanges, the Wugubank Partnership enables the children from each school to understand and influence each other about their world. The Wugubank Partnership aims to develop long term relationships over time, thus establishing trust and personal respect with the view of broadening horizons for all involved.
A key feature of the Wugubank Partnership is the importance of two-way learning. The children, from vastly different circumstances, develop empathy and key understandings of each other’s lives through personal connections, involvement and genuine respect. Over time, the communities supporting each school have come to know each other better, and in doing so, have developed a strong sense of shared responsibility for the care and growth of the children including an appreciation for Australia’s coastal and outback environments.
September 2009 was the beginning of this partnership. In celebrating over ten years together, we can proudly acknowledge the many successes of students and the commitment of each school’s communities to create opportunities for young people to forge ahead with understanding, purpose and friendship. Teachers and children who met each other in 2009 maintain contact as young adults and colleagues. Wugularr students are choosing to move beyond the community for their secondary education. There are three Wugularr students currently being educated in Melbourne. In our tenth year we saw the first Wugularr student graduating Year 12 at Woodleigh and saw the first of our Penbank/Woodleigh students teaching at Wugularr School. These former students, now teachers at Wugularr are continuing at Wugularr this year. The Year 12 graduate has commenced university at Swinburne studying Sport Leadership and Development. Volunteering at Wugularr School by Penbank teachers, former students and through Work Experience occurs routinely during school holiday periods and camps. During National Reconciliation Week, a teacher and teacher assistant exchange was arranged between the two schools. It is a continuing story... a most inspiring journey!
The Wugubank partnership is flourishing in every respect. All children, along with their adult carers and organisers, anticipate the arrival of their distant friends with relish. It is a happy, successful relationship based on genuine affection and understanding. The opportunity to learn together is extraordinary. It is genuinely, Reconciliation in Action! We can’t wait to welcome the next Wugularr mob to join us during Cultural Diversity Week! As with last year, the Harmony Day Twilight Picnic is a wonderful feature of this exciting week.