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The school community of St Mary’s Catholic School, Wellington have used the $4000 prize awarded for First Place in the 2021 Roger O’Sullivan Award to further develop their Outback Immersion Program. During week 3, term 2, a number of St Mary’s students, staff and parents from Year 5 – Year 10 travelled to Outback NSW visiting Coonamble, Lightning Ridge, Wee Waa, Coonabarabran and Narrabri. In a wonderful example of building community across the state, the group was welcomed by the community of St. Brigid’s School, Coonamble, for Morning Tea en route to Lightning Ridge.

During the visit to the opal mining village of Lightning Ridge, the group learnt about opal mining, had an opportunity to fossick for opals, and explored an underground museum sculpted using a butter knife. While in Coonabarabran the group learnt from a local Aboriginal Elder how paint is made from rocks and other materials found on country. He showed the group how they could use the materials to tell a story through art. A group of students came together to create an artwork that represents the trip and the connections made. Each evening the group gathered by the campfire, playing cards, telling stories or playing games together.

“We were fortunate to have had many amazing experiences and adventures on our trip, with many memories and connections to take with us. “commented a teacher who joined the trip.

Entries are open for the 2022 Roger O’Sullivan Memorial Award for Family, School and Community Partnerships for Learning. For more information and an entry form click here. You have until July 27 2022 to make a submission for your school community.