LOCAL LANGUAGE: Two of Lismore High School's Aboriginal Student Leaders Jaidyn Cicchinelli (back) and John Gorman (front) are part of the group celebrating the renaming of campus building blocs in broader Bundjalung. Photo: Alison Paterson
LOCAL LANGUAGE: Two of Lismore High School's Aboriginal Student Leaders Jaidyn Cicchinelli (back) and John Gorman (front) are part of the group celebrating the renaming of campus building blocs in broader Bundjalung. Photo: Alison Paterson

‘Close to the heart’: School’s indigenous renaming project

An innovative program at a Northern Rivers High School to rename its campus blocks to reflect local Aboriginal language is the first to do so in the Bundjalung nation.

For example, one of the new signs to be displayed says "ngulliboo", which means "all of us".

At Lismore High School two of the Aboriginal student leaders and prefects, John Gorman, 17, and Jaidyn Cicchinelli, 17, spoke about the importance of the 'Renaming the Blocks in Broader Bundjalung Project'.

The pair were part of the project, which the school said was led every step of the way by the school's Aboriginal students, while the whole school was involved in determining the final names for each block.

"I think as a young man growing up in this local area to showcase our culture around the school is really good as each indigenous and Aboriginal student holds their cultural values close in their hearts," Jaidyn said.

"I feel very privileged and happy to be part of this."

 

EMBRACING CULTURE: Lismore High School Aboriginal leaders and prefects Year 12 students John Gibson and Jaidyn Cicchinelli hold one of the new signs for the building block renaming project which sees all the campus buildings renamed in broader Bundjalung language. Photo: Alison Paterson
EMBRACING CULTURE: Lismore High School Aboriginal leaders and prefects Year 12 students John Gibson and Jaidyn Cicchinelli hold one of the new signs for the building block renaming project which sees all the campus buildings renamed in broader Bundjalung language. Photo: Alison Paterson

John said he felt it was important to teach the younger students the language of their culture,

"Before I was here there was only one other student who could do acknowledgment to country," he said.

"Now I have Jaidyn and we want to encourage the Year 7 and 8 students to be involved."

Deputy Principal (relieving) Stephanie Coble-Runge said the project has taken almost three years of consultation and involved the Lismore Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group which had endorsed the project.

She said they also worked closely with Uncle Glen Rhodes, DoE Aboriginal Language and Culture Officer, who said that Lismore High would be the first high school in the Bundjalung Nation to achieve this and it should be celebrated widely.

Relieving Principal, Kirt Swanbury said last year students and staff were helping each other to learn the new block names.

"All students and staff will be using the new block names from 2021 onward," he said.

"The new names will also be embedded into our timetables."

One of the Aboriginal student leaders driving this project, Madison Stanford-King, created the artwork for the signs.

A smoking ceremony and assembly will be held on February 1 at 9.20am, to commemorate the blocks renaming.



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