Explore8 – The Human Library

One of the most effective ways humans learn is through narrative. In fact, stories beat facts every time. We know this as educators and as parents. We also know that often a lesson is even more powerful if the story comes from someone other than us. For this reason, Santa Maria introduces all Year 8 students to a human library during the weeks of Explore8.

A human library is a collection of speakers who share their experiences and the lessons they’ve learnt with an audience. The idea originated in Copenhagen, Denmark. There, The Human Library is a non-profit international organization. The aim of the organization is to promote inclusion and diversity by challenging stereotypes and discrimination.

For Explore8 we have gathered a library of generous, interesting humans to share their stories about innovation. Our aim is to give our students an opportunity to learn from lived experience. It is also good social-emotional learning to practise being part of an audience and the skills that accompany that experience.

Each day of Explore8 our girls will have a speaker in the morning. They include the following:

Cherish McNamara

Topic – Responding to Challenges

An ex-US Air Force pilot Cherish is committed to empowering women in leadership through responding to challenges through growth & resilience. Her educational experiences as an Instructor Pilot, training designer/developer, and drone trainer/assessor have provided her with a broad range of skills she has applied in the military and civilian sectors. Cherish’s story will inspire the Year 8s and provide them with valuable insight they may not otherwise find in a textbook.

Natalya Hawrylak

The Literature Centre, Fremantle

Topic – Innovation in the Arts

 Natalya is an experienced teacher who presently works for the Literature Centre in Fremantle. Her passion lies in child and adolescent literature. As President of the WA branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Natalya promotes the power of literature in conveying important stories about humanity. She looks forward to inspiring the Year 8s with ideas about how innovation in the arts helps us see differing perspectives of problems in our society.

Di Wilcox

The Magic Coat Foundation

Topic – Finding your WHY

Di Wilcox has a BA in Social Science and a Dip Ed in Education. She is the mother of two daughters and Founder and CEO of The Magic Coat, a social/emotional well-being program for children.

Di created The Magic Coat program after seeing so many children struggling with wellbeing and mental health issues whilst she was a teacher.

Di now has her own Foundation and commercial business helping children around the world. The Magic Coat program is used in schools, women’s refuges, women’s prisons, foster care and hospitals and continues to grow and evolve.

Di looks forward to talking to the Year 8s about how she found her WHY and how they can too.

 Madeleine Scanlon

Topic – Innovation from within

Passionate about the ocean, Madi is an avid snorkeller and surfer. She is studying Marine and Coastal Science at university. Madi is looking forward to sharing with the Year 8s the importance of STEM in solving problems and the benefits of living a balanced life to help them maximise their potential.

Catherine Kolomyjec

Soul Gestures

Topic – How to flip a community problem on its head and empower people

Catherine attended Santa Maria College and graduated in 1986. She studied social work at university before going to Norway to work with refugees, where she specialised in working with torture and trauma survivors. In this role she travelled the world and met many different types of people as she worked to bridge the gap between newly arrived young refugees and the community. After having children, she moved permanently into community engagement and was instrumental in instigating the Soul Gestures Inc.

Soul Gestures is a charity inspiring young people to shine through opportunities for acts of kindness, leadership skills and creating innovative and inclusive programs. They are known for tackling issues on the margins of society, and ‘flipping them on their head’, finding new and different ways to create solutions that inspire young people to shine.

Catherine says she is continually motivated and inspired by the young people of Perth, who have an incredible ability to engage, commit and change the world around them. She looks forward to sharing with the Year 8s some of her projects and inspiring them with how she has addressed community problems using innovative thinking.

Luke de Laeter

Buzz Ed. Australia

Topic – The Business of Bees

 Luke is a new generation of apiarist who is sharing his passion for bees and biodiversity. In 2020, he won the Beazley Medal VET and the Australian Meeting of Young Beekeepers. His business, Buzz Ed Australia teaches the importance of bees. He also works full time as a commercial beekeeper gaining industry experience to enhance his teaching. As a young person who has followed his passion and carved out a career path where he makes a positive difference to the lives of other young people, as well as the environment, Luke is an excellent role model for our Year 8s.

Kimberlee Burrows

SMC College Counsellor

Topic – My Explore8 Journey: Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster of Creativity

Kimberlee Burrows is a new addition to the Health Services Team at Santa Maria College. She works as a counsellor and helps develop and deliver wellbeing programs across year groups. Kimberlee has a background in child protection, a PhD in child development, and worked as a researcher, lecturer, and program developer at universities before joining us at Santa Maria. Kimberlee has a passion for working with young people and helping prepare them for life.

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