Shalvey bread – sliced, white, and baked daily in the bakery opposite the high school – is unanimously declared the ‘best bread in the world’ by Shalvey’s youth. Shalvey BreAd reflects the pride and affection these students have for their community and their determination to share this hometown pride with the wider world.

“Shalvey BreAd is the positive outcome of how we see Shalvey and what we love and want to feature about Shalvey. I learnt that a place that is very low valued can be seen as so much more than what it is said to be.” Thomas

“My community is important to me because it’s where I live, man! The people in the community are wonderful and have a knack for banding together in times of need. There are amazing things happening in my community and I want to help showcase them.” Atoc

Throughout 2019, a group of dedicated students from Chifley College, Shalvey Campus have worked together to document their version of Shalvey and other Mount Druitt suburbs through a series of creative writing workshops, photography sessions, and digital storytelling methods that explore their own personal aspirations and stories and those of their peers and others who live in Shalvey and surrounds.

“Shalvey is important to me, because I’ve made a lot of friends and have learned so many lessons of life and weird things.” Mohammad

“The stories I wanted to share were stories of encouragement and inspiration. I wanted to inspire young youth (especially young Pacific Islanders) about the opportunities that are offered.

When I first attended the Shalvey BreAd sessions I didn’t want to be there. I kept thinking that I should’ve just stayed at school. But once I opened up the workshops became very welcoming and fun. The things I wrote and the amount of work I produced was really cool.” Ben

As part of these workshops students met with guest speakers. Writer and television presenter Benjamin Law came to visit the school and Seeing him relate his story to their lives, and hearing him talk through how he came to understand that his family’s story as a quintessential, if underrepresented, Australian story was fantastic.

Ben asked students to write a quick story about themselves – to identify a thing about their body that is unique to them, and to talk about what made this feature special, and how it made them feel now. All students happily wrote on this topic, with many talking about how proud they were of features relating back to their family heritage.

Muhammad, from the Shalvey BreAd program, stood up and told us the story of how he once broke a window with his foot, complete with an excited reenactment and impression of his mother. He had the class in stitches. You can read these stories in the Publications section of this website.

“My workshop with the brainiacs at Shalvey has been one of my favourite experiences with Story Factory yet. Shalvey folks not only recognised their differences, but see them as something to be respected and even celebrated.” Benjamin Law

“I grew up in Shalvey, my whole family lives near me, and my friend’s are down here! I was born and raised here, my nieces and nephews grew up here and my whole childhood stays in Mt Druitt. You should know I’m doing estwaa *inside joke*. They’ve provided an educational environment for me.” Fapiola

Students from year ten also attended an excursion to Story Factory Parramatta, where they heard from Shakthidharan Sivanathan, about his time spent researching and writing the play Counting and Cracking, about the history of Sri Lanka and his own family’s part in the civil war and diaspora experience. Students were invited to consider which communities they were a part of, from hometown to sporting teams, class groups and cultural background, and decide what they would like to explain about these communities to wider world. Students wrote about Mt Druitt, working as a teenager, attending church, and being part of the Enablers, a group of students dedicated to learning, extending themselves, and supporting others.

The work of this group, alongside that of year seven students who took part in student devised workshops, is shared on this site for you to experience and enjoy.

A huge thanks to the students at Chifley College Shalvey Campus who contributed to this program, especially Amour, Atoc, Ben, Charlize, Fapiola, Jamie, Mohammad, Sam, Sean, and Thomas.

Thank you to the staff at Chifley College Shalvey Campus, especially Amy Krisenthal.

Thank you to our guest speakers Benjamin Law and Shakthidharan Sivanathan.

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