Kormilda recently celebrated its annual Award Night. It is an evening, which traditionally reflects on the achievements across its student body, and in particular, pays tribute to the Year 12 cohort leaving the College with their secondary education completed.
The audience that night included three proud Indigenous families who watched over the proceedings with a sense of familiarity as they applauded their graduating children on stage. Darren Johnson, Marcus Lacey and Brendan Marika are all former Kormilda students who attended the College in the early to mid 1990’s. Following in their footsteps Jordan Johnson, Jerome Lacey, Sean and Brendan Marika (Junior) have now completed their College education becoming second-generation Kormilda students!
Brendan Marika came to the College from his Yilpara homelands, near Blue Mud Bay in 1991. Today he has the responsibility of being a Senior Ranger there.
“I was very glad of the opportunity to come to Kormilda College,” said Brendan.
“They made me feel very comfortable and well looked after. I enjoyed the interaction with the other kids around me and there were always so many activities to do. I played a lot of AFL and went on to play for Wanderers,” he grinned.
“My two sons Sean and Brendan were at school in Yirrakala, but when someone suggested they could go to Kormilda, I thought ‘why not’! I have always encouraged my family to take education seriously,” he said.
Marcus Lacey was also a boarding student at Kormilda in the mid nineties. Since his education at Kormilda he has held a number of interesting positions, including a career in teaching. Recently he has built a cross-cultural tourism business in his homelands of Nyinyikay – his great, great grandmother’s country in Arnhem Bay.
“I have a lot of great Kormilda memories – I particularly liked the Outdoor Ed and all sports. I even got selected to play in the Australian Aboriginal Boys Football team in Hong Kong, along with about six other Kormilda students. We were also part of a traditional dance troupe, so we could do a good war cry before every game!” he joked.
“Presently I am working on a cross-cultural exchange program with the LJ Hooker Foundation, which will involve a two week rotation of schools in Victoria coming to spend time in Yirrkala and Nhulunbuy, and then our local kids going there. This kind of tourism business will really improve employment opportunities as well as the health and well-being of our people. My son Jerome can also work in this business,” said Marcus.
Both Brendan and Marcus acknowledge their experience at Kormilda provided a firm footing to where they are now and share a view on the importance of education to all children.
“Education is the key to the world,” stated Brendan.
left to right: Jerome Lacey with his mother and father Marcus Lacey, a former Kormilda student from the mid 1990’s.
left to right: Graduating Year 12 student Brendan Marika Jr, his mother, grandmother, sister, father Brendan Marika Sr (Kormilda Alumni) and his brother Sean Marika, also graduating from Kormilda.