Official naming and opening ceremony for Shirley Smith High School

The ACT’s newest public school has today been official named, with a plaque unveiled at a naming ceremony to mark the occasion.

Shirley Smith High School opened this year in Kenny, welcoming its first cohort of year 7 students, and will, in time, provide high-quality public high school education for up to 800 students from across east Gungahlin.

The school was named after prominent activist and Wiradjuri woman Shirley Smith, who was a founding member of many important community services in Redfern, including the Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Service, the Aboriginal Housing Company, and the Aboriginal Children’s Service.

Shirley Smith’s advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people influenced other communities to establish similar services.

The school has been designed with flexible learning in mind, and also has spaces available for use by both students and the community, including a double gymnasium, covered hard court, an oval and a multipurpose hall.

In addition to the plaque unveiling, a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony were provided by Ngunnawal elder Aunty Tina Brown – who is a distant relative of Shirley Smith’s – to officially welcome everyone to the site.

“It was wonderful to join with Shirley Smith’s next of kin Ann Weldon and other family members, all the students and teachers at the school to celebrate this milestone,” Minister for Education and Youth Affairs Yvette Berry said.

“A little more than four months ago, Shirley Smith High School opened its doors to its first cohort of students in year 7. These students are able to experience the high-quality learning environments at Shirley Smith and learn alongside the fantastic teachers and staff.

“The ACT Government remains committed to ensuring that every public school is a great school and that there will always be a place available for every student at their local public school.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the process of bringing Shirley Smith High School to life.”

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