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This is a story of sharing, learning and art that has resulted in some stunning and meaningful collaborative creations. In 2020 St Therese’s School staff and students were inspired to begin a creative process to design and implement our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). CES Identity and Outreach Team worked with Leadership and our Indigenous Liaison Officer, Leanne Wanders, to conduct a half day workshop with a group of students to create an icon specifically for our school, one that tells our story unique to our community. As traditional landmarks were used in our icon, we consulted with traditional elder of Cairns (Gimuy), Hendrick Fourmile, who has been visiting and advising our school for a number of years to make sure our design was respectful and considered.

From this icon emerged the idea of a First Nation staff shirt design which had always been a dream for our team and our newly designed RAP icon really took this idea to a new level. Rebecca Nash and Leanne Wanders took their creative idea to Mr Brendon Napier and the Leadership Team and with their support this dream was realised.

Mrs Kimberly See Kee, a proud Kuku Yalanji and Kunganji woman and a Year 4 School Officer at St Therese’s, is an exceptionally talented artist. Kimberly previously painted a triptych entitled St Therese’s Way for the school’s Engagement Office and has gifted many other beautiful designs that represents and embodies our school’s vision and values throughout the school for staff and these are displayed proudly in a variety of learning spaces throughout the school.

Learning Through Art from St Therese’s School

Kimberly was keen to work with a group of students to create a unique painting inspired by our RAP icon and our school’s vision “Inspired by Christ, we journey together embracing faith, life and learning”. A number of students from Year 4 to Year 6 gave up their lunch times to contribute to the vibrant diptych painting entitled One. This piece was inspired not only by our RAP icon and vision, but also by the gifts of God’s creations right on our doorstep, the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, waterways and our beautiful surrounding mountains. Students with Torres Strait Islander connections painted the two dhoeri’s and our students learned more about storytelling through art, cultural appropriation and the power of symbolism.

One is now the design for the school’s First Nations staff shirt and it has become a powerful image that would change and inspire other graphic images, branding and imagery throughout the school. This piece is now the inspiration behind a variety of visuals around our school and our staff shirts captures the pride we have in our school, our story and our community.

St Therese’s School

St Therese’s School is committed to encouraging student agency and we have started a new initiative which supports our students to take on the responsibility of writing our 2023 Acknowledgement of Country. Students have been working hard with Mrs Wanders, Miss McGrath and support staff to create different meaningful and authentic acknowledgements to reflect our school’s values and commitment to continue our journey together inspired by Christ, embracing faith, life and learning.