Unique student-staffed school cafe celebrates 10 years

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ABC Radio Darwin

By

Emilia Terzon

Posted

February 15, 2017 15:38:35

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Darwin Middle School’s canteen is staffed by students. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
They get in there and get it done.”Everybody who graduates from the class gets a certificate I in hospitality and a few students have gone onto complete professional courses and cook in Darwin restaurants.School cafe opens for businessAfter the walk-in fridge is piled high with fresh food, Ms Kerrigan and two other employed cafe assistants load up the bain-marie with the daily hot meal made with the students. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
The class is run by Lorraine Kerrigan, a former food trainer who grew weary of high-pressure commercial kitchens.”The beauty of this is that the kids do all the cooking,” Ms Kerrigan laughed.”I give them all the ingredients and tell them what to do. And making new foods is fun.”Class sees noticeable rise in male studentsAssistant principal Sue Neal said one of the most interesting trends since the program launched in 2007 was the number of male students choosing to participate in the elective subject.”I’ve seen a real change from it being all-girl classes to a mix of 50-50 now, with the boys actually preferencing this as their first option,” she said.Ms Neal ascribed this to the “My Kitchen Rules effect” encouraging boys to embrace home cooking.”Cooking now is seen as not just a women’s-stay-at-home thing,” she said.”The boys are really in there, they’re diligent, they’re self organising, they don’t need the girls to tell them what to do anymore. Photo:
Lunch time at the Darwin Middle School is described as “the chaos”. When the bell rings for recess at Darwin Middle School, there is the expected chaotic rush to the school canteen, along with the more unusual appearance of teenagers in hair nets and chef aprons.The school canteen is part of a program that teaches year nine students basic cooking and business skills.The class runs four days a week in the public school’s industrial kitchen, which has seen about 1,000 students over 10 years make everything from sandwiches to Thai curries. Photo:
Camryn Stacey elected to do the subject due to her love of trying new things. Photo:
Lorraine Kerrigan is a former food trainer who wanted a break from high-pressure kitchens. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
Over on another steel counter, Ethan Muller and Malakye Stapleton-Pinto were slicing up croissants and filling them with ham and cheese.”At first I didn’t really want to do [this course] because I knew I’d have to work in the canteen, but it’s been a big surprise,” Malakye said.”I think it’s the atmosphere and the other kids and making new friends. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon)
After the school bell rings for lunch, the cafe is swamped by what Ms Kerrigan calls “the chaos”.”It gets very busy and sometimes [the customers] can get a bit annoyed,” Malakye said.”But normally they’re very thankful and they know we’re sacrificing our time to do this, twice a week shifts at lunch or recess.”Takings go back into the school, with Ms Lorraine welcoming of all feedback to help the students improve.”Sometimes there’s a bit too much seasoning or [students] can be a bit heavy handed with pepper and garlic, or the garlic bread goes soggy because they’ve loaded it up with enough butter to sink a ship,” she said. (ABC Radio Darwin: Emilia Terzon) Photo:
The school has witnessed a noticeable rise in male students electing to do the cooking subject. It’s a great thing to see kids get hands-on experience.”On Monday Ms Kerrigan’s rice paper roll station was manned by Camryn Stacey, a 14-year-old with a love of cooking apple tarts and other desserts at home for her mum.”We also have food nutrition classes at school where we cook for ourselves, but here we cook for the whole school,” Camryn said.
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Fashion show held in Australia’s most remote Aboriginal community

I was really proud of him, it made everyone happy,” he said.”We live in a remote community and it is a very small community, it is very quiet.”It was loud when it was fashion night, very different.” (Supplied)
Mr Olodoodi said sitting in the audience, he felt proud of the community and especially his son who took part in the parade.”He looked different, he had a nice hairstyle, everything. We cut up spinifex, and put rocks around.”

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The catwalk was made out of discarded solar panels and decorated with rocks and spinifex. “We were running a basic life skills program here in Kiwirrkurra, all about grooming and self care,” he said.”Basically they started grooming themselves, dressing themselves and the idea popped in my head.”So we started writing requests for donations to people from all over Australia in regards to old dresses, suits and shoes.”The community was surprised when Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) posted the request on Facebook and outfits started arriving by post from all over Australia.”A lot of the silk dresses and men’s suits come from Thread Together NSW,” Mr Worrigal said.”They arrived in boxes, all taped up with notes on them saying ‘I hope it goes to a good cause’.”

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Two female models get ready for the fashion parade. (Supplied: Amanda Sibosado)
Chance to get dolled up and feel greatMr Worrigal said the event complemented the work the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC) Youth Program was doing in the community.”The main aim to the whole thing, it was about pride, being proud of who you are,” he said.”Confidence-building for a lot of youth.”Coming from a small remote community myself, you grow up with a lack of self confidence in life, and we turned it around and made it fun and educational.”

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In a place rich in Aboriginal culture, a fashion parade helped the isolated community to express itself in a different way. The most remote Aboriginal community in Australia is helping young people grow through the power of fashion.Kiwirrkurra, 1,200km east of Port Hedland in Western Australia and 850km west of Alice Springs, recently held its first fashion parade, with the usually quiet Gibson Desert community lit up with bold lighting, pumping music and bright silks.Backstage, 30-odd locals aged 10 to 25 years preened their hair, applied makeup and donned silk dresses and suits before strutting out on the catwalk.”It was held at an old tin shade … that was the old store that was burnt down years ago,” said youth development officer Thomas Worrigal.”The stage was made out of the old Kiwirrkurra junk that we found laying around everywhere in the community itself. Photo:
“The spirit was happy, motivated, there was all clapping and smiles everywhere,” says Thomas Worrigal, who put the event together alongside colleagues Brett Toll and Amanda Sibosado. Magnolia Maymuru: From Yirrkala to the catwalk A teenage model selected as the Northern Territory representative for the Miss World national finals hopes the opportunity will “break the cycle” of how broader Australia views traditional Indigenous life. (Supplied)
Parade grows out of life skills programMr Worrigal said the idea for the fashion parade and pre-show photo shoot had evolved organically. “The catwalk was made out of old solar panels. (Supplied: Amanda Sibosado)
It is hoped the one-off event will become a regular fixture on the Kiwirrkurra calendar.”Speaking to the local people from the community … everyone was saying this is the first-ever fashion show that was put on,” Mr Worrigal said.”All the outfits are all stored away ready for the next one.”Lifting the spirit of a remote communityRaymond Olodoodi, a director of the community, believed every member of the 200-strong community had attended the fashion parade.”It was great, it was a lot of fun, it was really happy,” he said.
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ABC Kimberley

By

Leah McLennan

Updated

February 16, 2017 16:18:55

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A group of male models pose before the fashion show in Kiwirrkurra, 1,200km east of Port Hedland. (Supplied: Thomas Worrigal)
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