Central Speech by Jasmine and Mikayla

Good evening, students, parents and teachers.

My name is Jasmine and this is Mikayla, and we both journeyed to Central Australia last year in September when we were in year 9.

I had originally chosen the trip because the info night looked amazing and the teachers spoke so highly of it. Central appealed to me because I thought it would be super cool to explore my backyard before I started to travel. And boy, did ‘my backyard’ exceed my expectations.

I was a bit nervous to go away for that long without any of my day-to-day friends and teachers that didn’t really know, but because of the small size of our group and the best teachers, everybody got along super well and we acted like a big family for 8 days. I personally formed long lasting friendships in a matter of minutes with many of the girls on the trip from both TRC and Plenty.

Prior to the trip, we had meet up sessions with the other students to plan what we were going to do, conduct some research about the locations we were visiting and also get to know who we were going with. This really helped me be prepared for some of the more challenging aspects of trip and calmed all my anxiety, if there was any already.

The plane flight to Alice Springs felt super quick and we got there in a jiffy. At the Alice Springs airport was where we met our tour guide that we would have for the 8 days, Ringer. (His birth name is actually Scott, which I only found out a few days ago) I would assume that you would also meet Ringer at the airport too. He is 100% a true blue legend, outback tour guide. You can’t get any more Aussie than Ringer. He’s pretty much Steve Irwin’s long lost brother. Ringer was everything our group could ask for, and more. Any question you had, he would know the answer straight away, he was a super great cook and musician and could just genuinely connect with every kid on the trip. Not to mention, he knew the land like the back of his hand.

Your child will do different things to what we did on our trip, but some of the amazing spots we got to visit include the Alice Springs Desert Park, ANZAC Hill, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Yulara, Kings Canyon and also Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Ellery Big Hole which were all amazing waterholes that we got to swim in.

But above all, and I can vouch for everybody on the trip, the small indigenous community, we spent 3 days with, was everybody’s highlight on our 8 day adventure. The opportunity to connect with the aboriginal people, their community and their country and hear their stories which are incredibly powerful and quite spiritual, was a truly a life changing experience.

I never wanted to leave. The endless laughs we had with the small aboriginal kids. The English and maths subjects we taught them at their school, and the countless things they taught us. The sweat beading down our face when it was 35 degrees and we all still wanted to play footy with the kids on their red dirt oval. All these things make my heart ache with love.

If you have the privilege to visit a remote community on your trip, take everything in. Cherish the little moments. Respect the traditions and laws of the locals and just have the best time with everyone around you. It’s a great opportunity to reflect and learn more about yourself and others, and reminds you to be grateful for the little things.

I strongly encourage everybody to go on the new trip to Northern Australia next year in June. I remember sitting in your spots exactly like this, if only I had someone do an amazing speech recounting their experience as well, I would’ve been much much much more excited to go knowing how good it honestly was.

Thank you to everyone and have a good night.