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Students from secondary schools throughout Australia who were fortunate to attend our recent NEAA Student Conference from 16-19 August are still abuzz following their recent experiences. We were greeted and welcomed in true Nano style hospitality by our hosts Mater Dei Catholic College (MDCC) on Tuesday evening followed by an opening ceremony, "Gather us in" that included the contribution of a symbol from each school to share in the prayer space we would use over the next few days.
On Day 2 "Our Shared History and Tradition", we commenced with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony conducted by Luke Wighton as well as a walk around Lake Albert to the Scarred Tree with Jason Jolley. Students were then transported to the Mount Erin Heritage Centre to learn more about the history of the Sisters and the work being undertaken at Erin Earth. All staff and students then gathered in the Mount Erin Boarding school for lunch.
The theme for Day 3 was "A Charism of Service" that saw the students undertake service activities focused on compassion, hospitality, contemplation and action. The contemplation activity involved conference delegates undertaking the six stations of the Reflection Walk that has been newly installed at MDCC. The conference dinner was held that evening and delegates listened to two inspiring speakers, Melanie Bradley and Donna Power. Afterwards students shared some great memories in the photo booth and showed their talents during the disco!
Our final closing Liturgy on Day 4 themed "A Flame for the Future", saw students parade in with the lanterns they had made previously and share their prayers of the faithful that certainly reflected Nano's great legacy and the broader connections with Presentation people. The final blessing of the conference was bestowed upon all delegates by Sr Colleen and Sr Fran in a very moving way.
We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to Amelia Bright (Leader of Mission), Valerie Thomas (Principal) and school support staff at MDCC for their planning, management and delivery of a most outstanding program.