Richelle Watson

Richelle Watson, Former CAS Participant & student, Tennant Creek High School

Richelle Watson is a resilient, candid young woman, and a speaker of the Warumungu language. Having just completed Year 12, Richelle has been awarded a scholarship by Latitude Youth Volunteering through which she will teach English and physical education at the University of Hanoi, Vietnam. Once her volunteering stint is over, Richelle has plans to volunteer in an orphanage in Cambodia.

Whilst she is away she has plans to make a documentary of her experience, to bring back and share with her peers in Tennant Creek where she lives.

Richelle participated in the Community Action Support program as a Year 10 high school literacy mentor. During her involvement, she was required to prepare lessons in English and Warumungu to teach at the local primary school. With the support of the ALNF, local Elders and her teacher Richelle came to embody the role of leader/teacher and mentor. The role was one she adopted modestly and often speaks of her first time in front of the class as a time of high anxiety and sweaty hands.

Richelle’s confidence increased with time and observing the easy manner in which she related to the children and they to her, it is difficult to believe that Richelle was once nervous. Her teaching involved a lot of discussion, explanations of stories and pronunciation of words and concepts in English and Warumungu…

The way the children would climb over one another to show her their work, how requested games and activities and asked her questions (both on‐task and personal) was proof that she was and still is viewed as a genuine role model to the class she taught. Even now, three years later, when Richelle sees those she taught in the street, they share a joke- sometimes in English and other times in Warumungu.

Though she isn’t one for self‐promotion, Richelle is very focused on what she wants to achieve; she wants to be a teacher. The opportunity in Hanoi is one she is extremely excited and nervous about.

In a community where non‐Indigenous individuals occupy the vast majority of teaching positions, it is important that young Indigenous as well as non‐Indigenous children have access to Indigenous role models in schools, like Richelle.

The Community Action Support Program has provided Richelle with the platform and the support to gain proficiency in the skills and experiences that she requires to pursue her goals. The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation is proud to be able to play a part in facilitating and resourcing the opportunity so that Richelle and her fellow mentors can pursue their paths to be literacy leaders in the community.

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