Indigenous Students Swap Halls Creek for the Hills
17 December 2012
On 16 November 2012, the Hills Shire Times published the following article written by Evan Steff on the students from Halls creek attending the Dural Excellence in Education Program:-
The remote West Australian town of Halls Creek is a long way from the Hills in more ways than one. The heat is stifling, severe disadvantage is commonplace and school attendance is irregular at best. But 10 Aboriginal children have made the challenging journey to take up scholarships at William Clarke College in Kellyville and Pacific Hills Christian School in Dural. “The first term we came here we got really homesick, but then we got used to staying here and we started having more fun,” said scholarship student Brendan Yeeda. “Today I had to do a history presentation on ancient China and I gave a speech using PowerPoint.”
Alexandra Ling, who teaches five of the Halls Creek students at William Clarke College, said the aim of the program was to provide a comprehensive high school education that will improve the children’s long-term prospects. “We want to open as many doors for them as we can, to give them as many options in life as possible,” she said. “We want them to realise their potential, whether that means going to TAFE or going to university, or just being able to find a trade. They’re good kids and our goal is to make a positive difference in their lives.”
During school term, the students share a boarding house in Dural run by former Halls Creek locals Jaime Elliott and his wife Tracey. Ms Ling believes the sense of family created by the communal living arrangement is vital to the success of the program. “We’ve hosted Indigenous students before but they lived with foster parents and it never really worked out,” she said. “With the kids now living together in the house it’s like being with their community and I think that has been the key element to making this work.”
A LONG WAY FROM HOME
- Halls Creek is in Western Australia’s East Kimberley region, 685km inland from Broome.
- The isolated town has a population of less than 2000 people.
- During the summer months, the temperature regularly exceeds 40C