Community service highlights the value of education
EMMA Layfield, of Maindample, is an adventurous soul - she returned recently from her first trip overseas - a school trip to an underprivileged school in Vanuatu as part of her year 12 community service.
“I worked with the Black Sands community school (a village on the outskirts of Port Vila) that was devastated by Cyclone Pam in March.
“They don’t have much, so it was incredibly rewarding to help them build a classroom,” said Emma, a boarder at The Scots School Albury.
Emma was one of a group of 20 students who spent 12 days in July laying stumps, building a sub-floor, lay flooring and erecting walls – an experience that one teacher described as life-changing for each student.
The trip was the culmination of 18 months of fundraising.
“I never felt in danger,” Emma said.
“Everyone was really friendly and laid-back – they were all on ‘island time’,” said Emma, grinning.
“But the hardest thing was meeting the kids – they were all very happy, but all so very disadvantaged.”
The trip certainly highlighted for Emma how grateful she is for the education she has.
She started at Scots in 2014 because she liked the strong leadership, and believes it’s important to have a good education.
“Scots is a really intelligent school,” Emma said when talking about her school.
“The teachers are amazing - they email you everyday either during school or in the evenings to check if I’m doing okay, and are very discreet too,” she said.
As well as helping Emma improve her grades, her parents are happy with Scots because Albury is peaceful, safe and still has a country feel.
Two other Mansfield boys - Flynn Bowker (year 10) and Sabastian Bolden (year 10) – also make the two-hour weekly commute to Scots in Albury, and often carpool.
Flynn was awarded the Pleydell scholarship last year and strongly believes it will broaden his career options.
When Sabastian started at Scots this year and heard about Flynn’s scholarship, he too applied and has just been awarded an academic scholarship for the next two years.
“It’s such a tight-knit community here, it’s one big family where you make friends both at school and outside of school,” said Sabastian.
“It’s absolutely a privilege to come here.”
Sabastian’s parents were drawn to Scots because of the academic discipline and support.
“We thought the routine and prep would be good, and helpful in getting Sabastian organised and to realise his full potential,” said mum Susie Bolden.
According to Scots’ head of boarding, Adrian Lawrence (who is originally from Merrijig), Albury is ideal for many families looking to board their children because it’s co-ed and easy to get to - with good freeways and little traffic - plus there’s a flat for boarding parents to use overnight.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Emma Layfield helped build a classroom for children in Vanuatu while on a 12 day community service project.