Kinross Wolaroi School (KWS) is the inaugural winner of the Excellence in Indigenous Boarding Award.

The award recognises the extensive efforts taken by a boarding school or residence to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarders.

Jointly sponsored by the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) and Boarding Australia (BA) the award was presented to KWS Head of Boarding Matt Curran at the International Boarding Conference Gala Dinner in Melbourne.

Boarding Australia CEO Greg Franks, KWS Head of Boarding Matt Curran, Australian Boarding Schools Association Josh Drahm and Executive Director, Richard Stokes.

‘Our Indigenous Student Coordinator, Anthony Begg, leads our school’s Indigenous Education Program and has done a wonderful job; growing the Program from the bottom up over the course of a few years,’ says Curran.

‘We are fortunate to have outstanding Indigenous boarding staff in key roles, including Head of House, Assistant Head of House and two other residential assistants.’

‘These staff are essential to ensure that our Indigenous boarders feel at home and that our Indigenous program remains at the core of what we do’.

‘Anthony Begg has also developed a relationship with local students from Charles Sturt University to act as volunteer mentors once a week during the evening.’

‘Other initiatives within the school that have embedded our Indigenous program into the ethos of Kinross Wolaroi include the creation of a uniquely landscaped Indigenous garden at the heart of our school.’

‘It serves as an interactive learning space for staff, students and the wider community and places our program at the geographical and metaphorical heart of our school.’

‘Each initiative we undertake at KWS underpins the importance of the Indigenous program and aims to enrich our existing school traditions. ‘

‘We feel we have had much success in this area and feel delighted to have received the inaugural Excellence in Indigenous Boarding Award,’ Curran says.

Judges, Andrew McLeod and Samantha Franklin of Boarding Australia, and Josh Drahm of ABSA were amazed by the quality and variety of activities aimed at improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarders.

BA CEO, Greg Franks, and ABSA Director, Richard Stokes, were also delighted by the high standard of the 15 nominations and the ability to present the award together.

‘Being able to work cooperatively with ABSA provides opportunities for both organisations to use their respective strengths,’ says Franks.

‘The joint Award is just a way in which we can work together for the improvement of boarding across Australia.’

Written by Rachael Hakim