So, we met at a coffee shop and, quite excitedly, she asked us to follow her a couple of blocks away. We pulled up at the Silver Linings School, which is an all indigenous school that she'd set up earlier that year, in 2020. There we were met by a couple of very confident young indigenous kids, who then proudly showed us around their campus.
There are open-plan classrooms with kids of varying ages working away. And some of them, you know, playing with Lego for the first time, others diving into the latest software on laptops, or creating music and art. And, you know, it was just really cool to see them all interacting, and in being educated so, so sort of happily, something a lot of us just take for granted.
Then Cheryl explains that they've all come from troubled backgrounds, where attendance rates at their local school was less than 20%. You can start to see the enormity of her impact on the young kids. We arrived there in September. And at that point, the attendance rate from when they opened the doors earlier that year was at 100%. So, you know, a really good indication that whatever she was doing, it was, was having a very positive effect.
We originally were just looking at staying in Barcaldine for lunch to catch up with Cheryl for an hour and ask a few questions. But that quickly turned into five hours. And at the end of the day, you know, myself and the crew were just so taken by her and the program - it had a really lasting impact on us. And because of that we've decided for every BUSH Project book that I sell, $25 will go to the school, which is really exciting.