Poet and educator Ethan Bell reflects on his experience working with Coreen Special Education School students for Youth Unlocked workshops in 2020.
Working with the students at Coreen high school this year was an amazing time, I had the pleasure to work with some of the brightest and most creative high school students in Sydney. It was amazing to see so many storytellers gathered in one place.
On the first day, we met at Nurragingy reserve, we paid our respects to the Darug people for allowing our workshops to take place on their country. We shared our stories, the works the students had done with David in the past and met David's dog Cookie. I could see that the students were all excited to be there, the atmosphere was electric it was exciting to be by a little creek in Western Sydney Park lands, kickin a footy around having a good laugh. Leaving there that afternoon after we said our goodbyes, farewells and see ya laters, I had to take a moment to reflect on just how talented and smart every single one of these students were, from bright young poets and scientists, to the tricky footy players letting their feet and hands do the talking. It was an amazing experience. I was excited for day 2.
Day 2 and 3, we focused on writing poetry and shared our creative influences. I encouraged the importance of reading books and keeping a little journal for creative outlets, and we shared the poetry we wrote together over the two sessions. It was truly incredible to hear the power and depth that they had in their poems. Again, I was blown away by the enthusiasm and creative intellect that each student showed.
The last day was a day for us to relax in the sunshine, with a game of Magic the Gathering, a BBQ, watching a few magpies sparring with a crow. A perfect ending to a great program, it was truly a pleasure to meet so many wonderful students, I want to thank them for being brave enough to be themselves. From the bottom of my heart. You all done a deadly job, you da deadliest, you da best, you da future.