Year 9s choose Rite Journey

Year 9 St Joseph's School students Lucas Blight and Daniel Blewit learnt about the history of the Garden of Remembrance and then got stuck into cleaning the headstones. PHOTOS: CHARLOTTE MARTIN 379326_02

For many year 9 Port Lincoln students, the Rite Journey program has become a rite of passage as intended, influencing them to become reflective, resilient and self-aware as they journey into adulthood.

St Joseph’s School student Tyler Davidson said the Rite program had been a great experience.

“It has taught me things like taking responsibility, teamwork, discipline and working hard,” he said.

“I have learnt many life skills through this program.”

Fellow St Joseph’s student Aidan Kay-Baker is also finishing up the Rite program this year.

“Cleaning the headstones of the soldiers who fought for us was a way we could show our respect and reflect on the sacrifices they made for us,” he said.

“It’s a way of giving back and honouring them.

“The Rite Journey has taught us so much this year.”

This year, the St Joseph’s year 9 boys journeyed to the Garden of Remembrance led by Rite Journey teacher Bill Kannussaar.

The students learned about the cemetery and its commemoration to servicemen and women of conflicts past.

They proceeded to scrub and clean the plaques through the grounds.

Mr Kannussaar said the girls in the year level volunteered at Matthew Flinders Home, and that there was also a gender neutral guidebook.

“It’s a year-long program with challenges and celebrations throughout and we’re coming to the end of it now for this year,” he said.

“After this experience today [Tuesday] the students will go back to school and write a letter of gratitude – today is all about reflection. Tonight they will have a sleepout, they’ll have their individual spaces and utilise the time to look at the year that has been.

“The program is about taking on challenges, leaving childhood behind, moving into adulthood and focusing on the great person you want to be.”

The Garden of Remembrance is owned and maintained by the Port Lincoln RSL Sub-Branch.