Currawah Aboriginal Education Centre is looking forward to a bright future after reopening this year.
The Adventist-operated school in western NSW has faced a number of challenges over the years, but thanks to the support of Church leaders and members it is up and running again.
“The school has a viable future now,” said Pastor Richie Reid, a member of the school’s board of directors. “It has met all the registration and accreditation requirements, and with the help of government funding, Currawah will finish the 2017 school year with a healthy cash surplus.”
Formerly known as Currawah Adventist Aboriginal College, the school closed in 2013 due to issues of compliance with NSW’s Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES).
In 2014 a meeting was held to decide the future of the site, which led to the drafting of a new school constitution and the appointment of a board of directors. The aim was to get the school operational again.
The Australian Union Conference in partnership with North NSW Conference (which owns the site) and Greater Sydney Conference has provided financial and advisory support. The NNSW Conference executive approved the payment of rates, insurance and land leases until the school was operational.
In January 2017, a team from Wahroonga church (NSW) cleaned up the site in readiness for the students to arrive.
There were 13 students in Years 7 and 8 this year. Year 9 will be added next year and Year 10 in 2019. There are three teachers, including the principal Doug Simpson, and more staff are being appointed for next year.
Pastor Reid said they had already received about 50 enrolment inquiries for 2018. “Because it’s an independent Aboriginal boarding school there is interest from around Australia, including places like Broken Hill,” he said.
A number of churches have supported Currawah, including Gosford church, which donated 17 mountain bikes for the students.
The students have not only been on the receiving end of support; they have also participated in community service activities throughout the district.
“At Currawah we are helping to change one life at a time,” Pastor Reid said. “These children have often come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Education helps to lift them out, it breaks the cycle, giving them opportunities and a positive future.
“Throughout 2017 we have seen God’s hand at work in so many ways and with His continued guidance and support we are looking forward to what the next few years have in store for Currawah.”