Stu­dents tak­ing the lead in projects

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

Stawell Sec­ondary Col­lege stu­dents are tak­ing the lead in their com­mu­nity through self and school-ini­ti­ated projects.

Col­lege teacher Heidi Lang said sev­eral of the school’s stu­dents had taken proac­tive steps to re­duce the amount of waste they pro­duced and vol­un­teered their time for char­ity and aged care or­gan­i­sa­tions in the town.

A Stawell Sec­ondary Col­lege Waste War­riors pro­gram was ini­ti­ated by a group of stu­dents con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­ment.

Ms Lang said the stu­dents had vol­un­teered their time to clean the school and were ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties such as a veg­etable gar­den and com­post sys­tem.

Stu­dent Charli Peters, who helped in­sti­gate the pro­gram, said she and other like­minded stu­dents were con­cerned about the state of the en­vi­ron­ment and wanted to make a dif­fer­ence.

“There were a few of us who re­alised we all had the same opin­ions about how the en­vi­ron­ment is be­ing im­pacted in this day and age,” she said.

“We re­alised we wanted to do some­thing about it.”

Charli said the group hoped it could in­spire sim­i­lar changes at other schools.

“We started off post­ing a lot of things on our pri­vate In­sta­gram and Face­book ac­counts, shar­ing it and see­ing if peo­ple would be­come more aware of it,” she said.

“I wrote a let­ter to our prin­ci­pal Mr Lopez see­ing if there were things we could change in our school.

“I knew it wasn’t go­ing to nec­es­sar­ily change the whole world, but I thought it could maybe im­pact other schools and see if they could fol­low our lead.

“We cre­ated nude food Fri­days, which was very suc­cess­ful – a lot of stu­dents ditched plas­tic wrap­ping and brought con­tain­ers. We’ve also started mak­ing posters to put around the school.

“We’re go­ing to start a new pro­gram with our rub­bish bins and have Visy re­cy­cling bins. We want to have more re­cy­cling and less sin­gle-use plas­tic.

“I’d say peo­ple are jump­ing on board pretty well.”

Charli said stu­dents in­volved with the pro­gram were still com­ing up with new ideas.

“A few of us wanted to get chick­ens and worms for com­post­ing,” she said.

“We want to waste less power by mak­ing sure light switches are turned off if we don’t need them. We’re just try­ing to do our part and make sure we’re not con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem. We’re mak­ing our school a bet­ter place and try­ing to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

“It started with four of us and now there is a big group of peo­ple putting in ideas.”

Ms Lang said some year 10 stu­dents have also taken on vol­un­teer­ing roles at or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Sal­va­tion Army op shop, St Patrick’s Parish shop, Even­tide Homes and Macpherson Smith Res­i­den­tial Care.

Stu­dent Sasha Inglis said she found the ex­pe­ri­ence of vol­un­teer­ing re­ward­ing.

“We’re do­ing a lit­tle bit to help out our com­mu­nity and give back to them,” she said.

“I’ve been go­ing to Macpherson Smith, and I think it has helped with my con­fi­dence and be­ing able to talk to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity more. I think it shows we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing com­mu­nity work and han­dling lead­er­ship roles.”

Sasha said it felt nice to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on peo­ple’s lives through vol­un­teer­ing.

“I get to know the clients and peo­ple there and form a bond with them,” she said.

“I reckon they ap­pre­ci­ate the vis­its. When we go you al­ways see them brighten up and feel a bit more happy be­cause they’ve got vis­i­tors.”

GIV­ING BACK: Stawell Sec­ondary Col­lege year 10 stu­dents, from left, Tabitha Bibby, Elyza Gooden and Sasha Inglis de­cided to give back to their com­mu­nity by tak­ing on vol­un­teer­ing roles at lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

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