For the fourth year in a row, St Peter Claver College Senior students have spent time getting to know and contribute to the First Nations community of Cherbourg.
The trip took place over a long weekend from Friday 21 April 2023 – Monday 24 April 2023 with the four day, three night program devoted to assisting with the ongoing maintenance of the St Peter Claver Chapel; building meaningful connections with the Cherbourg community; and broadening students' awareness and understanding of First Nations culture and history.
The St Peter Claver and Cherbourg Community Partnership co-ordinator Daniel Meehan said the trip was successful for many reasons.
“The feedback we got from the parish, priest and locals we spoke to was they were really appreciative of the College's commitment to service to the community," Mr Meehan said.
“That was one of the things we spoke to the students about too. The fact that they were doing these acts of service for people they would never meet, and they would never see the positive effect it would have. That serving others isn't always about directly receiving gratitude from them but can be about the feeling of self-gratification and personal fulfilment."
A significant part of the program was the work undertaken on St Peter Claver Chapel and surrounding grounds: painting and installation of a cross in the Chapel, construction and painting of two picnic tables in the Chapel grounds, spray painting handrails, tree pruning, weeding, mulching, planting new plants, mowing, window cleaning and cleaning inside the Chapel.
Construction teacher Mark Kudeborg and the Year 12 Construction students lead the charge on the design and construction of the cross and picnic tables with the assistance of the rest of the group.
Students also engaged with the Cherbourg community, history and culture through supporting teachers with afternoon lessons at Murgon State Primary School; a men's yarning circle led by Uncle Eric Law; a women's yarning circle led by Aunty Vera, Gloria Wilson and Gwen Button (a past student of SPCC), leading Mass at St Joseph's Church in Murgon and touring the Ration Shed Museum.
The students that took part in the trip overwhelmingly said it was an eye-opening and worthwhile experience.
“I took away a lot from the trip … I had known of the stolen generations and the genocide of the early settler government, but not the manner in which the Barambah Reserve was conducted." said Jackson Houghton.
“One thing I took away is that the people of Cherbourg are very proud of the place they come from despite the struggles that the Elders there had gone through in the past." said College Captain Liam Pearce.
They also had advice for other students considering taking part in next year's trip.
“Go with an open mindset and just listen to what the people from the community have to say and the wealth of knowledge and wisdom Elders like Uncle Eric have to share." said Ryan Shepherd.
“There's so much more to the trip than what you think … it's an amazing learning experience and a great way to engage with the community." said Liam.
The St Peter Claver and Cherbourg Partnership Trip is just one way in which the College promotes and offers a well-rounded and holistic education that includes real-world learning, and practical and immersive experiences for students.
We sincerely thank Daniel Meehan, Mark Kudeborg, Kirsten Winnel and Gloria Wilson for their generous contribution of time and their support of the project.
Thank you also to trip sponsor Blue Dog Training and to those who helped fundraise with soft drink sales at the College over several lunch breaks.
More photos can be found in a folder under the 'Photos' tab in the Parent Portal.