Batchelor Institute » Passing Out Parade: DIDP Indigenous cadets become Batchelor Institute graduates
default logo
Date:September 13, 2013

Passing Out Parade: DIDP Indigenous cadets become Batchelor Institute graduates

Click on the photo above to view gallery photos

Families, friends, and classmates of the Defence Indigenous Development program (DIDP) cadets gathered with dignitaries and staff from Defence Force and students and staff from Batchelor Institute and the Batchelor community to celebrate their achievements at the first Passing Out ceremony of the DIDP program held at the Institute’s Batchelor campus on 12 September 2013. 27 students and Defence Force staff led by Major Marty Alsford, assembled in the Batchelor Institute Recreation Hall for the ceremony.

From 4.00pm, the cadets assembled, facing rows of family, friends, staff and students from Batchelor Institute and Defence Force and mentor support personnel and distinguished guests, including Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory; Lieutenant Colonel Paul O’Donnell; Mr Tom Gibbons, CO of Angus Knight Group; and Adrian Mitchell, Director Batchelor Institute.

The ceremony began at 4.00pm with a ‘Welcome to Country’ musical performance by Kungarakan Traditional Owners Helen Bishop and Barbara Taylor. This was followed by a poignant and heartfelt address by Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas, AM.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul O’Donnell called students one by one to proceed to accept their certificate, and each proud cadet marched spectacularly from their impeccably organised military rows to the front of the stage to receive their certificate from Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory, who was also attired in Defence Force uniform for the commemorative occasion. In keeping with Defence Force protocol, the smiles of the individual graduates were contained until the end of the ceremony when an official end announced by Colonel Paul O’Donnell was followed by a spectacular mass removal of uniform hats as these were flung triumphantly into the air by the cohesive group of smiling graduates, in a very visible show of sheer happiness, pride and relief. The special quality of this one moment was not lost on the crowd of well wishers, as smiles were seen on the faces of everyone present.

The procession then broke up and well-wishers continued to meet the graduate cadets, shake hands and congratulate them on their substantial achievement.

The ceremony was followed by a formal dinner with around 120 invited guests, including the cadets, family members, Defence Force staff, Batchelor Institute staff and community; and invited guests. This was enjoyed in a beautiful evening setting in Batchelor student kitchen which was suitably transformed for the auspicious occasion to reflect the formality and ceremony of the event.

The Defence Indigenous Development Program is a collaborative partnership with the Australian Defence Force. The program has been running nationally at various locations for five years as part of the Commonwealth Government’s ‘closing the gap’ initiative and this year Batchelor Institute was selected as the preferred collaborative partner.

The group of graduates have completed Certificate II in Education Skills Development, while residing at Batchelor campus from 25 May this year. The focus of the program has been on learning foundation and life skills in a complete program which includes Defence Force training, mentoring, personal development and recreational activities. Each day of the program began with a very early morning campus march, which soon became a regular and familiar sight as Batchelor students, staff and community grew accustomed to this early daily display of clockwork precision.

The Institute would like to thank the staff and students involved in the inaugural Batchelor delivery of this highly worthwhile program. While providing education and employment pathways for the graduates the program has also offered a tremendous opportunity for the Batchelor community to engage in ‘both-ways’ learning with a major employment sector. The Batchelor community will miss the daily presence of these cadets and Defence Force and support personnel.