On Wednesday morning we celebrated International Women’s Day with breakfast attended by members of the College community, students and staff and the other Catholic schools in Geelong. 

We had the privilege of listening to our special guest speaker, Bri Pengarte Apma Hayes from the Class of 2020. A proud Arrernte woman, Bri was born and raised on the lands of the Waddawurrung people and such an inspiring and impressive young woman! It was a treat to hear Bri speak about her passion for her culture and her people and her role with the First People’s Assembly. 

She acknowledged the people in her life who have inspired and supported her on her journey, including her biggest supporter, her Nan, Dad and Cousin, Jordie. She gave a special thanks to Ms McMahon and Aunty Sue who supported and guided her during her time at Clonard.

Bri shared a turning point in her life was seeing Adam Goodes in the film Australian Dream (2019) which inspired her to make a difference.

Her conversation with us reminds us of the extraordinary capacity that lies in our young people. Her advice to her mob is to ‘do your thing’, have fun, be positive, take on board advice and take advantage of every opportunity and finally, work hard towards what you want.

Her wish for the future; through Treaty for there to be a First Nations representative with a permanent seat on the Victorian Government.

At Clonard, we acknowledge our teaching and support staff for the amazing work they do each day in supporting our young women in finding who they are and where they can take their place in the world as people of strength and kindliness. Bri’s message to us was to remember to give young people the space to fail and make mistakes in a safe way.