Wanganui Park SC students newest community leaders

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Learning valuable skills and sharing unforgettable experiences, seven Wanganui Park Secondary College students recently took part in a life-changing, nine-week student leadership camp.

Attending the School For Student Leadership Snowy River Campus in the east Gippsland town of Marlo, each Year 9 student first took part in a selection process, which included teacher nominations and a look at the student’s grades and reports.

The successful students — Deakin Jinnette, Rae-Nee Roberts, Dante Sinclair-Dealy, Holly Sinclair-Dealy, Kloe Laws, Sylvester Desacada and Mikayla Bright — returned home on Saturday full of stories and plans to enhance the local community.

Happy to be home, but also sad to have left their camp family, the students said it was difficult to adjust to the experience at first.

‘‘It was really hard adjusting, but we really came together and supported one another,’’ Rae-Nee said.

‘‘It was an amazing experience.’’

The Wanganui Park students were joined by seven other Year 9 government school groups, three from the Hume region and four from the north-eastern Victorian region, to create city-country student partnerships.

‘‘Being an only child, I wasn’t used to having people around me all the time, but I loved it and I loved the environment,’’ Mikayla said.

One of the major components of the program was the community learning projects, in which each school group worked to develop an initiative to help their home and school communities.

The project created by Wanganui Park students known as ‘‘Our Mission is Transition’’ focuses on supporting Year 8 students who will attend Mooroopna Secondary College next year as part of the school merger.

‘‘Our current Year 8 students will need to bus across to the Mooroopna campus in 2020 and we thought we could design a transition program to assist them,’’ Rae-Nee said.

‘‘We still have further planning to do with the teachers and principals, but we are hoping to run some half-day sessions where Mooroopna students mix with our students and then with students from Shepparton and McGuire,’’ Kloe said.

‘‘We had the opportunity to work on the project and get a better understanding about the education plan and what’s been happening,’’ Holly said.

‘‘We want them to feel comfortable with the change because that’s what we would have wanted done for us.’’

Wanganui Park assistant principal Daisy Utber commended the students’ project as a way of reducing fears and anxiety, and increasing connectedness for future academic success of students in the region.

‘‘Having students design for students makes sense, they know what they need in order to feel comfortable at their new campus,’’ Ms Utber said.

The students were looking forward to working on the project when school returns for term three.

‘‘It’s pretty life changing, after the camp I feel like a different person,’’ Holly said.

‘‘I would have regretted it if I didn’t go, if you have an experience like this, go for it,’’ Rae-Lee said.