A multicultural program coordinated by Mabel Park State High School teacher Nyanyiik (Angelina) Chol has been described as having a transformative effect on the entire school community. Teaching for the last six years, Angelina’s contributions are said to have surpassed the requirements of her role as an English and Drama teacher.
She leads a multicultural program that involves more than 300 students from diverse backgrounds. Through the program, Angelina has created an inclusive and celebratory learning environment that fosters cultural understanding and bridges divides amongst students. Students learn about the 68 recognised cultural heritage backgrounds at the school other than their own.
Angelina has incorporated the multicultural program with the school’s positive behaviour plan by utilising school data to track student attendance, behaviour, and effort. Students are held accountable, encouraged to maintain high standards, and empowered to represent the school and their culture with pride. At-risk students have positive conversations to modify their behaviour, and senior students have emerged from the program to take on leadership roles.
In addition to her multicultural program leadership, Angelina led a group of students involved in the OCEANIA Queensland Schools Multicultural showcase to take part in a regional cultural performance featuring 190 participants from 22 schools for the first time. She has been approached by colleagues from other schools and community organisations to engage with the Mudita cultural performance group she leads. Angelina is also actively involved in the after-school Drama Excellence club, demonstrating her commitment to provide enriching opportunities to her students beyond the regular curriculum.
Angelina says the best thing about being a teacher is finding the incredible opportunities for students to get involved, learn, and grow as human beings. This is why she loves events and the extra-curricular activities she runs: giving students the opportunity to work with people they wouldn't normally – whether it’s age or cultural differences – and allowing them to learn from each other. She said the amount of growth and empathy that came out of projects with a shared vision was incredible.
In her nomination, her colleagues write: “Angelina Chol is an exemplary member of the teaching profession and the school community.”
“Her dedication to promoting cultural understanding and respect has helped to create a positive and inclusive school culture that values diversity and fosters mutual understanding.”