It was disappointing to read some of the assertions from a former staff member in the article in The Australian today about Yirara College, a Lutheran boarding school in Alice Springs for Indigenous students from remote communities.
LESNW has every confidence in the Board, Principal, leadership and staff of the College. They do an outstanding job in what are often challenging circumstances. Most students come to the College having previously experienced extensive trauma and little previous education. There are many indicators of the College’s successes. For example, seven of last year’s eight year 12s are already in work or further education.
As a further example of the impact of Yirara College, two students have just been announced as ABC Heywire winners. Heywire is a program that encourages young people living in regional or rural Australia to tell stories about their lives outside of major cities in text, photo, video or audio format. I encourage you to look at their brief but moving stories:
Jacob Yunupinga – Heywire winner
Telisha Watson – Heywire winner
The College Chairman, Tim Stollznow, invited The Australian to visit Yirara to assess the facts for itself and spend time with staff and students. The invitation was not taken up. It will again be offered to the editor of The Australian and to any media that want to understand and report the reality of Yirara.
The Principal of Yirara College, Chris England, this morning wrote to and spoke to his staff to reassure them of the value that Lutheran Education SA, NT and WA and the Board and executive of Yirara place upon their skills and commitment in the service of the young people entrusted to Yirara College by families.
Yirara College is always open to external scrutiny from Governments, and only two years ago the NT Government conducted an extensive routine external review, which concluded that the College was complying with its obligations.
Please uphold those associated with the College in your prayers.