Oak Flats High School
Poetry in First Languages, 2019
Oak Flats High School is located on an attractive landscaped 20 hectare site at Oak Flats in the city of Shellharbour. The school continues to provide quality educational services for the students of the immediate area (80%), whilst attracting an increasing number (20%) of enrolments from outside the normal feeder area. The school continues to undergo growth with student enrolments passing the 900 mark for the first time in many years. The school aims to provide a happy, safe, comprehensive and challenging learning environment where students develop a strong respect for others and a positive attitude for life long learning. Oak Flats High School is highly regarded for its well balanced educational programs backed up by experienced staff, extensive teaching and learning resources, modern technology and a well resourced comfortable library.
Developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders and delivered by Red Room Poetry, Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music and art.
On May 7 and 8 in partnership with Merrigong Theatre Company and Wollongong Art Gallery, First Nations students from Years 3-11 at Figtree Primary School, Fairy Meadow Demonstration School, Warilla North Public School, Port Kembla Public School, Dapto High school, Figtree High School and Oak Flats High School came together for the Poetry in First Languages, Dharawal programs.
With the guidance of Dharawal based poet and musician, Nicole Smede, and Dharawal based Ngunawal Poet, Ethan Bell, Gundungurra Custodian Aunty Trish and Gumea Dharawal language custodian, Jacob Morris, the students connected to country through language, story and art to create poetry in Dharawal language. These poems were interpreted into artworks and will be performed in the local area at community events.
PIFL Dharawal will also return in October in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, NASCA, and the Art Gallery of NSW.
Ethan is a Wallabalooa man from the Ngunawal Nation. He is an emerging artist and student based in Campbelltown, Sydney.
Ethan's practice is storytelling, drawing from his love of hip-hop. Ethan writes poetry in hopes to give insight into his life.