The end of term at Tomaree High School saw the opening of the Growing Together Indigenous Garden.
The project was carried out in collaboration with the Real Futures Foundation, a local charitable body that works with the two local high schools – Tomaree and St Philip’s.
Students and staff involved in the programme at Tomaree High School worked tirelessly to create a garden in an area in the grounds that wasn’t being utilised.
It comprises a traditional fire pit, a curved two-tiered seating area and a brick built barbecue shelter, as well as landscaping.
The Real Futures Foundation was first established in 2003 and works with Year 10 students.
Its aim is to encourage those students to stay in education or to provide pathways to employment, working in conjunction with local businesses.
In attendance at the opening were Worimi custodians Justin and Leigh Ridgeway, local councillor Sally Dover, Marian Sampson from Real Futures Foundation and Darrell Barnett – Manager of Soldiers Point Marina.
The project managed to secure four times the initial estimate, with thanks to Port Stephens Council, Bunnings, Valley Homes, Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation and the Department of Industry.
Councillor Sally Dover told News of the Area, “it is so wonderful to get all the local community to work together and encourage our young people”.
Sue Xenos, Principal of Tomaree High School, spoke to those present and awarded certificates of appreciation to the key stakeholders.
Special mention also goes to Lisa Martin, the school’s Aboriginal Education and Engagement Officer, who has worked alongside the students to ensure the project’s success.
The garden is intended to be a functional space for all students of the high school.
Well done students!
By Sarah STOKES