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The BUSY School celebrates our graduating students!

The BUSY School’s 2023 graduation ceremonies gave staff, teachers, family members and students a chance to celebrate and reflect on the past years’ achievements.

With formal graduation ceremonies held across The BUSY School’s Queensland campuses, the glamour and drama were amped up by the students who went all out for the occasion, arriving in red carpet worthy attire and many making grand entrances in a variety of classic cars.

Overcoming Challenges: Student Success Stories

For many of the students, before enrolling at The BUSY School, completing high school felt unachievable.

Grace Kennedy, a graduating Cairns campus student, stated during the ceremony, “If it wasn’t for BUSY Schools, I wouldn’t be graduating high school and that’s something that’s a very big achievement of mine. I’m very grateful to have you guys in my life!”

Kim Barrett, parent of Liam who is a graduating student at the Brisbane campus, also emphatically thanked BUSY School, stating, “Liam came to The BUSY School because he’d been disengaged with the school that he was at. I chose The BUSY School for my son because I could see that it would provide the support he needed to finish year 12. The schools are great for students that are struggling with mainstream schooling.”

And Liam said of his experience, “The teachers and staff here have helped me discover paths and opportunities that I couldn’t find in regular mainstream schooling.”

The BUSY Schools Difference: A Unique Educational Approach

“To understand what sets The BUSY School apart, read more about the BUSY Schools Difference, highlighting their unique educational approach.”

Gratitude and Reflections from the BUSY School Staff

It seems the benefits of The BUSY School were not just experienced by the students, with many of the teachers also sharing their gratitude during the ceremonies. Curriculum Coordinator, Sumaya Layne, stated, “We say that this school is a school for the students who are disengaged in mainstream education, but I can tell you it’s also for the teachers who don’t fit into mainstream schools!”

Career Pathways and Success Stories

Explore the Career Pathways offered by BUSY Schools, which play a crucial role in the success stories of their graduates.”

Nola Louise Rasmussen, Teacher at the Brisbane campus also shared her sentiment on the night, stating, “Every student has potential, and when you see them move in that potential it’s just so heart moving. I’m trying not to cry right now because I’m so proud! I just love that I get to see them excel and grow from strength to strength.”

Principals’ Perspectives on Student Transformation

Klaus Knobloch, Principal at The BUSY School Coolangatta campus, said during the ceremony, “Many of our students who first start with us have lost their love for learning, but by the time they finish with us in year 12 they have re-engaged in learning and have become lifelong learners. They really look forward to the future – and they have hope again!”

His sentiment was shared by Principal of the Cairns campus, Naomi Vucas, who stated during their graduation ceremony, “They started last year in year 11 very negative to school. To see their commitment to education, their commitment to the future, their commitment to supporting each other across the two years, it has been absolutely amazing. They’re just a fantastic group of young people!”

Principal of the Salisbury campus, Ingrid Rucinski, stated, “The most consistent message I hear from parents about young people who have come to The BUSY Schools is how we’ve saved lives. Now they’re making better choices, doing things that are healthier, and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of!”

The BUSY School is an initiative of The BUSY Group, a not-for-profit organisation offering a range of apprenticeship, employment, education, training and career support programs. The schools offer an alternative education model for years 11 and 12 students who are not thriving with traditional schooling. In a relaxed but supportive environment, they aim to re-engage students with education to complete their QCE and move onto career pathways or further study.

With seven campuses across Queensland and more campus openings planned for 2024, The BUSY School continues to support young people to complete their education and find a career path that’s right for them.

Delve into the comprehensive educational Programs at BUSY Schools, designed to re-engage and inspire students.”

Find out more and watch what people say about The BUSY School.

NAIDOC Week – What is it and why it matters

In the first week of July each year, National NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.

Each year has a theme and this year’s is ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up’. As a nation, it calls for us to continue to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for systemic change and keep rallying around our mob, our Elders, our communities. Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism—we must do it together.

You can support and get to know your local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities through activities and events held across the country. These events aim to educate all of us of the country we stand on, the language, history and achievements of our First Nations people.

National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony

National NAIDOC Week’s premiere event is the National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony which showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence. Every year, a different focus city is chosen to host the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony.

Previous National NAIDOC Week Award Winners come from many different communities within Australia and have different backgrounds, however they are all part of NAIDOC history and share remarkable achievements.

One such winner was the Koori Mail, Australia’s only fully indigenous-owned and managed newspaper with a circulation of approximately 10,000 and an estimated readership across Australia of close to 100,000.

In its citation, the National NAIDOC Committee said that the Koori Mail is the only fully Indigenous-owned and managed newspaper in Australia. ‘Founded by a Walbunja businessman, Owen Carriage, the Koori Mail first went to print in May 1991. Published in both printed form and digitally each fortnight, it is a trusted voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘Based in Lismore, New South Wales, the Koori Mail was significantly impacted by the floods this year, affecting both the organisation and those who worked for it. However, the paper immediately pivoted to distribute emergency information and provide disaster relief. Their coordination and leadership provided support to First Nations people and the wider community in and around Lismore during this difficult time.’ The support included setting up a street kitchen and serving food to community members, many who had lost everything in the floods. The Koori Maiil is a a fine example to us all of what it truly means to ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up!’


Echo Newspaper

NAIDOC Week 2022


National Reconciliation Week: Be Brave. Make Change.

National Reconciliation Week is a reminder for all Australians to contribute to achieving reconciliation for our first nation’s people in Australia, prompting all of us to learn about our shared histories and cultures.

The week always runs from 27 May to 3 June as it coincides with two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey so far: that of the 27 May, 1967 Referendum which saw an overwhelming 90% of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and recognize them in the census; and on the 3rd June 1992, Eddie Koiki Mabo’s court challenge which lead to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands, and paved the way to Native Title.

The concept of National Reconciliation Week started in 1993, the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, as a week of prayer for reconciliation, supported by Australia’s religious communities. In 1996 the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation launched Australia’s first National Reconciliation Week and in 2001, Reconciliation was formed to continue to provide leadership on reconciliation.

This same year, 2001, which saw 300,000 people cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of National Reconciliation Week which prompted other cities and towns across Australia to conduct bridge walks also.

Every year now in Australia, schools, workplaces and communities come together during Reconciliation Week to support our reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people. This year’s theme of Be Brave, Make Change, follows on from last year’s theme to Take Action. It prompts every individual, organisation and community to take steps to help bridge the gap and find reconciliation.

At The BUSY Schools (a part of The BUSY Group), our vision for reconciliation with First Nations Peoples has its origins in our commitment to have more people in jobs, more people learning new skills, and more communities exposed to positive change, in partnership with employers and industry.

We recognise that a community-led, strengths-based approach that values the experience of First Nations Peoples is the best way to accelerate improvements in their life outcomes.

To make this vision a reality it is our intention to consult with First Nations Peoples to truly understand how we can work together to create opportunities.

The BUSY Group is driven by passion and commitment to make a difference by supporting Reconciliation through our commitment to the actions outlined in our ‘Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)’ which re-enforces our genuine commitment to improve the lives of one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world and assist in driving social change.

Throughout our offices, through morning teas and group communications, we’re encouraging all of our staff this year to Be Brave, Make Change, to reach out and connect with our First Nations Peoples, and the opportunities we can provide to improve lives through career pathways, vocational skills, employment and financial independence.

More information on Reconciliation Week 2022.

The BUSY Group was lucky enough to have one of our former employees create an art piece to represent our journey. This artwork is displayed in many of our offices.

BUSY Meeting Place by Shandell Washington – Artist

This is about the journey that BUSY has taken to get where they are now.

The black symbols represent the aboriginal men and women who had lived, worked, and looked after the land before our offices came to be where they are.

I have also painted a kangaroo and emu track to represent all the animals who walked the land before we began our journey.

 The yellow circles are in a symbol that represents ‘meeting place’. For BUSY, this whole journey has been one big meeting place for everyone to come and meet with all people across the organisation to help them gain employment or start their pathway to success. 

The biggest circle in the middle is a representation of Southport where the journey began for the BUSY staff with Martin Punch, our founding director’s hand print in the middle. Below Martin’s handprint is a sea mullet. The sea mullet represents the Yugambeh people. 

While researching for my painting I got onto uncle Ted Williams and asked if I might be able to use his totem as a symbol for the head office. Uncle Ted asked if I could paint the sea mullet, as the sea mullet represents all the Yugambeh people because when the sea mullet would come in close to shore the people would go fishing and catch a big heap of fish to then take back and share with all the mob. 

The other offices are represented through totems of the traditional owners of the land that they are situated. This is to show our respect and acknowledgement of the traditional owner. Every dot on this painting represents every worker and the individuals they have helped over the years, representing the hard work that has contributed to becoming such a great organisation.

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