By Caroline Smith
Young Indigenous leaders and a noted member of Australia’s military and diplomatic community, the Governor General, His Excellency General, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, have recently come together at Clontarf Aboriginal College in Waterford.
His Excellency General and Lady Cosgrove toured the college and were welcomed by Executive Director, Dr Tim McDonald; Clontarf Foundation CEO, Ross Kelly; and Principal, Troy Hayter.
Following a Welcome to Country given by Noongar student, Drew Burton, they were greeted by student leaders, including Head Boy, Isaac Mann, and Head Girl, Moesha McCormack, who presented them with a small gift. These students, in turn, received a Governor General’s medal and official lapel pin.
Mr Hayter said the visit had been a good opportunity to showcase the college’s academic initiatives and the achievements of its students.
“It was an honour to have His Excellency General visit and an opportunity to explain the college’s mission, educational program, initiatives and transition pathways as a leader in Aboriginal education,” Mr Hayter said.
“The Governor General wanted to meet the students and find out their stories,” he said.
“He emphasised the importance of education and congratulated the students for their commitment to learning and being leaders.”
Mr Hayter explained that the Governor General was the ambassador of the Clontarf Foundation Program – which comprises of 68 academies across Australia supporting the education, life skills and employment of Aboriginal male students. Lady Cosgrove was supportive of the opportunities the college provides for female Aboriginal students through programs such as the Girls Academy.
“I found the Governor General and Lady Cosgrove very personable and passionate about Aboriginal education,” he said.
“They wanted to know more about the great opportunities available at the college for our Aboriginal students who come from all over Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
“I had the opportunity to explain the college’s mission, educational program, initiatives and transition pathways.”
Towards the end of the visit, His Excellency General and Lady Cosgrove were escorted to the school oval to watch a football game involving Clontarf students.