• Educator Maz Kitt and members of the Noongar community join in the dancing as Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School celebrates 20 years. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
What once was a dream to create a pre-school to support the needs of the Noongar community of Bunbury, is now celebrating twenty years since it evolved into one of the first Aboriginal primary schools in the country.
By
Karina Marlow

12 Dec 2016 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 12 Dec 2016 - 11:34 AM

An overwhelming turnout of around 250 current and past students, parents, teachers and every principal from the school’s 20-year history celebrated the milestone anniversary on last Friday with a picnic and live music.

The students were centre stage in the celebrations performing a timeline of the school's history through music, poetry and both traditional Noongar and contemporary dance.

“It was an absolute fantastic day and it was about acknowledging those who have made the school excellent over the last 20 years and assuring them that the school will be safe in the future.”

The school’s principal Tegan Davis remarked, “It was an absolute fantastic day and it was about acknowledging those who have made the school excellent over the last 20 years and assuring them that the school will be safe in the future.”

The school’s name Djidi Djidi is the Noongar word for the Willy Wag Tail Bird, that is common in the Bunbury area.

The Djibi Djibi Aboriginal School caters for nearly 100 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 and relies strongly on community involvement through the School Council. The Council is made up of nine parent and community representatives, including the Chairman who is a Noongar elder, who steer the school’s vision and cultural practices.

The school's primary mission is to ensure that all students at the school develop an awareness and pride in their own culture and are able to apply their knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes to achieve their individual potential.

“There’s no other school I’ve worked at that has inspired the same commitment as this school” Ms Davis said.

The theme for the anniversary was: Honouring our Past, Living in the Present, and Preparing for Our Future.

Ms Davis explained that the existence of the school was a real testament to the phrase ‘from little things big things grow’, with the passion of the local community seeing the school expand out of Koala Kindy.

The pre-school was started in 1974 with funds from the Department of Community Welfare and ran for 22 years before the current school began in 1996. Gradually additional year groups were added until the school reached Year 7 enrollments in 2003.

“Every year the school gets a little bit better and a little bit brighter... from the sports field to the science lab,” she said.