End of an Era 

6 August, 2021

A member of the Green family has been enrolled at Gawura or St Andrew’s Cathedral School since Gawura started in 2007.  Now it’s the end of an era with Sadie, a proud Gamilaroy woman, finishing school this term. 

It’s very sad that due to COVID restrictions our plans to celebrate with Sadie and thank her family will be postponed, but we congratulate Sadie on all she’s achieved and the wonderful person she’s become. 

The Greens are an original Gawura family and Sadie is our longest attending Gawura student after completing Kindergarten twice.   

Prominently featured in the Gawura ten year history book, Roxanne Briggs, Sadie’s mum reflected on how she first heard about Gawura: “I got to know Sharon Minniecon through RPA Hospital where all my children were born. One day, a few years after my last child was born, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Redfern where my sister was working. Sharon was there. She said to me ‘You have a lot of children, don’t you?’ at which point I laughed and said ‘yes’, and she told me about the school they had just set up. We were living in a refuge in the city at the time so Stephen went straight down to St Andrew’s Cathedral School, met with Cathy Miskovich and signed up two of our kids. The school had opened in April and our kids started in June.” 

Sadie loved starting school in 2008, and has very fond memories from that time; ‘it was like going to a family BBQ because I had two brothers there and my sister and a few cousins.’ 

Sadie was at school through so many changes in the way Gawura operates and even where it was located.  ‘When I started school was on the roof.  When we found out we were moving downstairs we were all upset. We hated it.  We were used to being close to the canteen because it was around the corner and we were always the first on the play equipment. It meant that we got more teachers so the move was probably better when I think about it.’ 

Sadie loved being at school with Mr North, the former Head of Gawura and is grateful for all he did to help the kids – big things and small. He had a big impact on Sadie and her family. 

Culture and words of wisdom 

‘I’d say 60% of what I know about culture is from Gawura.  I look back and think I did miss some opportunities to learn more.  Like when we started Wiradjuri lessons I wasn’t interested because it’s not my Country, but my Elders were saying that I should know a language.’  

‘My advice to the Gawura kids is to take those opportunities to learn. At the time you might not be interested, but you should do it.’ 

Sadie is grateful for all of the opportunities being at our unique school provided like learning the cello for four years and performing.  

Sadie’s friends and family are so important to her and have helped to get to the end of year 12.  ‘They told me to stick it out.’   

Sadie found Middle School hard, partly because she missed her Gawura buddies, but said ‘once I found my group and started hanging out with Tanisha again it got better.’  Tanisha left two years ago and was in kindergarten with Sadie. 

Sadie happiest memory of Gawura is when she and Raymond thought it would be funny to smear glue all over Tanisha’s chair.  Tanisha realised of course and ‘the teacher made us stay in at recess and lunch for the rest of the week.’  

Sadie felt that in secondary school she didn’t see the Gawura kids enough, but she did love the two On Country trips she went on.  ‘It was great to get away and be with the Gawura kids. It was like the days when I started.’ 

Excellence in sport

The whole way through school Sadie has been very accomplished in her sporting endeavours, and has won two grand finals; one in soccer and basketball.  The soccer win was a huge because ‘I fractured my hip part way through the season but I ended up back for knockout rounds thankfully and we won.’

Her second win was for basketball.  ‘My basketball team won the grand final this year which was awesome because we all appealed so we could play together again with the same coach as last year, St Andrew’s Cathedral School teacher Mr Champion. We had started together in year 7 and wanted to go all the way through together. I also won the coaches award for that, which is basically who the coach thought was the MVP of the season. That was cool.’

Reflections on finishing and what next . . . . ? 

Sonny, Sadie’s brother was the first in their family to finish year 12 and Sadie is now the third.  Sonny is a very talented artist who is opening a design business. ‘My plan is to help Sonny with his business next year and then decide what I’ll do next. I’ll see what I like doing.’   

‘I’ll miss my friends. I do enjoy being at school.’ 

‘Everyone wishes Sadie all the best with her future. She’s a great person. Sadie and the Green family have contributed so much to Gawura to help us become the school we are today,’ said John Ralph, our Head of Gawura.

Mr Ralph who has lead the two On Country Tours to the Indigenous homelands of the Wiradjuri and Yuin Nations stated, ‘Sadie loved these experiences. We take all of our First nations students from Years 5 -12 away on these trips. Sadie has thoroughly enjoyed learning more about her culture and the differences and similarities between salt water and fresh water people.

Sadie has a wonderful compassion, empathy and caring nature towards our younger students on these trips such as our primary aged students. Some of these students are as young 10 and taking them away to places like Bathurst, Dubbo, Nowra, Orient Point and Huskisson can be challenging for some of them. Sadie has looked after them beautifully, includes them in her conversations and checks in on them when we have been away.

We will miss Sadie immensely in 2022 but will be so proud of her as she will have completed her HSC.’

We congratulate Sadie and thank Stephen and Roxanna and their children for all of their generosity and for everything they gave Gawura over 14 years.

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