Sophia opens for a yarn

Plainland’s Sophia College welcomed Henry Thompson Junior from the Yugera Dancers to hold a smoking ceremony for the opening of the college’s new yarning circle. Pictures: SOPHIA COLLEGE

Students at Sophia College now have a safe space to share a yarn and connect with the history of the community.

The college opened its yarning circle and launched its Reconciliation Action Plan at a special ceremony on Wednesday, 29 May.

Sophie College assistant principal Integral Ecology and Faith Margareta Lemon said the students engaged beautifully with the opening ceremony.

“We had Henry Thompson Junior from Yugera Dancers give the welcome to country and he did a smoking ceremony for us,” Mrs Lemon said.

“For our school, that was the first time we’ve had a smoking ceremony and the students engaged very respectfully.

“We had a grandparent of one of our Aboriginal students and at the end of the ceremony she came up to me and said we had chosen the right space, because during the celebration she felt healing in the place we had selected.”

The yarning circle was dedicated to part of the college’s eco-science precinct to honour and recognise the First Nations people of Australia.

“It also provide our students with a place in which they’re able to connect with First Nations cultures and each other,” Mrs Lemon said.

The ceremony also launched the college’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which Mrs Lemon said was an ‘ambitious plan’ two years in the making.

“We have 27 actions within it that the college is committed to working towards,” she said.

“It was lovely to have family members and official delegates from Brisbane Catholic Education as well as our local Catholic primary schools in attendance.”

A key feature of the yarning circle is the three poles which represent the history of the college’s community.

“As you enter the Yarning Circle there is a reminder of our Franciscan tradition, our call to walk gently, in love and wisdom, with each other and all creation just as St Francis did with brother wolf,” Mrs Lemon said.

“In the centre we have the story of Learning, Integral Ecology, Faith and Engagement at Sophia College depicted in Aboriginal dot art [by Isabella Hazard].

“Finally, we have the three animal totems sacred to the Yugera, Jagara and Ugarapul people – goanna, frog and snake.”