Thursday, December 13, 2012

Celebrating literacy for life at the NCIE!

It was my pleasure today to help celebrate those involved in the Lifelong Literacy Pipeline program run out of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern.

Graduating were seven students from Tempe High School who had successfully completed two- 10 week long semesters of the MultiLit Online Reader-Tutor Program. To me, completing the program was a clear demonstration of their own individual commitment to improving your literacy levels, and I commend each of the students on their achievement.

Through their involvement they showed they understood the important role literacy plays in our everyday lives.

Many of us often think of literacy in terms of reading books, but it is more basic than that. And as an example, let me quickly list the things I needed literacy for just this morning. At 5.30am I read read Tweets, Facebook updates and a joke someone sent me.

Then I read things that affect my health and well-being such as the ingredients on the tub of yoghurt I had for breakfast, and how many magnesium tablets I should take daily to help with my muscle repair.

This morning I also read things that informed me as a global citizen as I accessed newspapers on-line and read the headlines form around the world. I also went into the Community of Excellence and read about some important upcoming events for our mob including the Yabun Festival and the 2013 ACT Indigenous Expo  – and so I became more informed as an Indigenous citizen as well.

On the way to work I read things that helped get me to my office in Rosebery: That is, street signs on the way and warning signs that roadwork was happening near Matraville.

Within twenty minutes at my desk I read emails that offered me work in the Whitsunday’s, Melbourne and Perth next year. This is the kind of reading I really like!

I read a long email from someone in WA who had read my latest book – AmI Black Enough for You?  - and found some connections with my story. This filled me with some personal joy.

I read words from someone who will be a guest on my blog next week. She listed what she was grateful for. And she reminded me of what I was grateful for.

So, I had utlisied my literacy skills in ways that affect my health, my safety, my knowledge base, my employment and my emotions - all before 10am.

With that in mind I think we can agree that literacy impacts on every single area of our life. It can determine the success of our day, our week, our future.

Being literate does more than keep us safe, alive and informed. Literacy provides us with the foundation to the best at what we do, whatever that choice may be.

I can’t think of one career option that won’t require you to be literate. I’m sure you all have a career path in mind, and I am so pleased the students took the step to be part of and indeed complete the MultiLit Online Reader-Tutor Program, because it means they are already on their way to reaching their own goals.

By their involvement they showed their capacity to work hard, to work beyond what others might do, to step up to a challenge that might’ve even been scary to some at first. But, they not only stepped up but conquered! These students have already demonstrated some core qualities required to be a leader. They need only consider whether or not you want to be one. Because to those of us celebrating with them today, we already know they have within them the makings of one.

Eli, Tori, Jade, Tilia, William, Jackie, and Kerry - I’d like to personally congratulate you, and to thank you for the inspiration you have given me today. I’m thinking I may need to write scene into my next novel about a cohort of students graduating at the NCIE!

And I’d like to congratulate all those involved with the Lifelong Literacy Pipeline: The partners including the NCIE, MultiLit, the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation, and Indigo Express, Tempe High School and Stewart Okell from the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy.

Without your support and guidance, none of us would be celebrating today, so kudos to you and more power to you as individuals, organisations and programs. Together you are creating a stronger future for all of us.

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