Burketown kids have talent in spades

Burketown kids have talent in spades


LITTLE EINSTEINS: Winning Burketown team Jacqline MacNamara, Lahleejah Yanner, Jagama Yanner and Keelin Hookey. Picture: Lydia Lynch.

LITTLE EINSTEINS: Winning Burketown team Jacqline MacNamara, Lahleejah Yanner, Jagama Yanner and Keelin Hookey. Picture: Lydia Lynch.

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A group of Burketown children will return home as heroes after dominating a talent competition in Mount Isa.

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A group of Burketown children will return home as heroes after dominating a talent competition in Mount Isa last week.

Indigenous students from across the region had a chance to compete in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aspirations Program (ATSIP).

Seven schools battled it out over three days in a range of challenges including persuasive speaking, poetry, art and problem solving. 

Burketown State School managed to clean up the competition, despite only having 28 students in the whole school. They took home more than half of the trophies, proving size is no match for hard work.

Burketown State School principal Chris Ford said the team of four students pulled a prize in every single category. 

“We were so elated, before we came down we thought we would be happy to walk away with one trophy,” Mr Ford said.

“The kids were wrapped, they did even better than we thought they would. They worked really hard. 

“We wanted to give the students an opportunity to learn more about what they are capable of,” he said.

The Burketown team had a lot of support from their peers and teachers.

The Burketown team had a lot of support from their peers and teachers.

The students were mentored by Mangubadijarri Yanner, Karen Ford, Harmony Ford and James Belde, who were thrilled with the student’s success. 

Jacqline MacNamara, Lahleejah Yanner, Jagama Yanner and Keelin Hookey made up the brainy team. 

“I was so suprised, I never thought we would win so many trophies,” Jagama said.

“I was really happy, we did a lot of practice and had a lot of encouragement from our teachers.”

The four Burketown students won the long term problem solving, persuasive speech and commercial challenges. They also walked home with second place in poetry and third in the team quiz.

Regional ATSIAP director Peter Kelly said this was the first time the competition opened up to primary schools. 

“ATSIAP is an educational program that has a long and unique history of improving educational outcomes for young people in Queensland,” Mr Kelly said.

He said the program was a recognised factor in supporting retention rates of Indigenous students. 

The North West Star

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