who visited Coonabarabran High School
came from a diverse range of backgrounds, originating in Palestine,
China, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Philippines, India and New Caledonia.
During their visit Coonabarabran High School organised various activities
to allow them a taste of what it is like to live in rural NSW.
students were hosted by Col and Liz Welsh at Warrumbungle Holiday Camp,
which allowed them to walk at night to Timor Rock. Francis commented
that it brought back memories for him of Sierra Leone, when he had to
travel at night to escape capture by the rebels,"
said Mrs Stafford.
were able to take the students on a tour ofthe Warrumbungle National
Park and they loved visiting the observatory, White Gum Lookout and
a tour of Tara Caves with Bill Robinson, Maureen Sulter and Sue-Ellen
the afternoon they were lucky enough to experience some abseiing with
Phil Draper and Rob Carter, while that night they had an evening at
Skywatch where they were able to view the stars with- out the harsh
Coonabarabran High School was "buzzing with excitement"
as the visitors introduced themselves one at a time at assemblyFollowing
this, their day was filled with cooking damper with Myra and Jill Cain,
music with Ms Suthons and her elective music class and a fun afternoon
of sport with the other students.
boys from Sierra Leone really know how to play soccer," Mrs
night we entertained several special guests at a barbecue with the SRC
and prefects. Afterwards everyone had a full dance card at the social
where our visitors showed off some really cool dance moves!"
At a formal
assembly on Thursday the visiting students displayed a short video showing
off their school. Senait (from Sierra Leone) performed a traditional
Ethiopian dance that celebrates the coming New Year, while Coonabarabran
High School's Aboriginal dance group demonstrated some traditional Aboriginal
dances. Simone Hodges and Alexander Lee delivered a beautiful song and
the visitors respthided with an amazing drumming performance.
recess the visitors spent some time at the agricultural plot where they
sheared a sheep, handled some livestock and viewed a sheepdog in action.
For some, it brought back memories of their own rural experiences in
their country of origin," said Mrs Stafford.
"A memorable afternoon was spent withYear 12 where
Francis shared his journey of escape during 1999 from Sierra Leone to
Australia and then his recent visit home last year where he saw his
mother for the first time in seven years. After his moving story we
moved into small groups and the students were able to get to know each
other better and share their journeys with each other."
Ms Stafford said the whole visit, although short, had an amazing impact
on the students at Coonabarabran High School.
"Our students were able to meet students from other cultures
and break down the media stereotypes that are generated so freely,"
"The warmth, innocence and open generosity of spirit
that these students displayed to our students will be remembered for
a long time to come. We hope to continue our connections with the school
and that the visit will become a regular event in our school year."