Connection to community and country helps local students to thrive

A student engagement program at Busselton Senior High School, Waalitj Kaaditjin, is building a reputation as a thriving – and growing – local program for local indigenous students, welcoming 75 students into the program this year.

This week, thanks to Busselton Water, the engagement and capacity building program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students donned a distinctive new uniform – a symbol of connection to the group, country and community.

The new jumpers sport a logo designed by year 10 Torres Strait Islander student Sinead Saylor which has reference to the totemic eagle and quest for knowledge.

Busselton Water’s Chair Helen Shervington expressed the importance for everyone to have a connection to community and to country.

“Busselton Water has been connected to this region for more than a century – we’re part of the fabric of our community.  We’re so pleased to provide these students with a jumper that they will proudly wear as a symbol of their own connection to country and community,” said Ms Shervington.

Waalitj Kaaditjin program coordinator Gwen Gray expressed her gratitude to Busselton Water for supporting the program.

“Waalitj Kaaditjin was created to build the capacity of each student to support them to set and achieve their respective goals at school, and beyond. Waalitj Kaaditjin – a reference to the totemic eagle and a quest for knowledge – explores themes of culture, language, environment, conservation, health, wellbeing, sports, recreation, family connections and community.” Ms Gray explained.

“The new jumpers supported by Busselton Water are a big part of our students’ journey on the Waalitj Kaaditjin program. They symbolise each student’s belonging to the program and their wider community and country. The uniforms are something we’ve wanted from the start of the program but haven’t been able to achieve until our partnership with Busselton Water.”

Busselton Senior High School has consulted and joined with various external partners and agencies to deliver the Waalitj Kaaditjin program over the past two years and is one of eight groups supported by Busselton Water this year.

For more information on Busselton Water’s Community Partnership Program, visit

Busselton Water Chair Helen Shervington (centre) with students from Busselton Senior High School’s Waalitj Kaaditjin program.