The First Step Feb. 2011 - Page 21

A week at Abergowrie To most of us, a week without reception these days would seem like hell. Phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook are often the centre of our world. It’s comfortable and it’s convenient. Sometimes though, it’s best to take a leap out of our comfort zone and put our feet into other people’s shoes. That’s what 14 Bondies did these holidays when we journeyed to St. Teresa’s Abergowrie College, a Catholic boy’s secondary boarding college situated in the Herbet Valley, West of Ingham, North Queensland. This was the second trip led by the Bond Indigenous Awareness Society (BIAS) and I had the privilege of returning for a second time. With around 200 boys, mainly of Indigenous and Papua New Guinean backgrounds we were in for one interesting week. Days were long with early starts and late nights, but each and every second was treasured. Life in Abergowrie certainly isn’t anything like life at Bond. There is no one to make our latte’s, no quick stroll to market square and if you think the food at the Bra is bad, try eating boarding school food. We sometimes are quick to forget how convenient and privileged our life actually is. The week included assisting teachers in classes, whether that be in Art, Science, English or Home Economics. I, along with some others assisted in helping the year 9’s practice for their annual NAPLAN test, which really affected us when we began to mark them and found the average of the year level was a score of 5 out of 40. Boys in senior year struggled to read words that would be expected as basic knowledge for their age. My sheltered life at high school where I was provided all the skills I needed to apply for university and sit the QCS test really stood out when I found myself sitting in the library with three boys showing them a past test paper for the very first time. Compared to my school where every student was expected to sit the test, I was grateful when I saw three boys eager to learn. After all, three is better than none.