IT’S amazing what an individual teacher can do.
Former Maths teacher at Queanbeyan High School, Michael Guilfoyle, has recently transferred to Braidwood Central School, one of the oldest schools in NSW, and suddenly they’ve transformed their SRC, just as they did in in his previous place of employment, under his supervision.
Today the Braidwood Central School Student Representative Council has been running a Youth Week expo in Ryrie Park, and, Guilfoyle has told “CityNews,” it’s all been their own work.
The students invited the local Police, Rural Fire Service, Ambulance Service, and Lions Club to assist or run stalls in the Park. Year 6 from nearby St Bede’s Primary School joined in and so did a group of students and their principal, travelling from Batemans Bay High School.
The SRC broke itself into a banner team, wish strips team, flash mob team, music team, media team, spontaneous sports team, and even an Easter egg hunt team.
The most unusual was the ‘wish strips’ team, which asked students to write on strips of ribbon something they would like to happen in Braidwood, and tied the ribbons to a string that joined the banner on its march up and down the main street.
In the follow-up to the event, the students plan to use the information on the ribbons to make a submission to Council, to tell them what youth actually want, as opposed to what adults think they want.
School Captain Lillie Pryor explained, “for example, if 30 students want a skate park, maybe Council may wish to consider building one, but if only 2 students want one then maybe Council would be better off saving their money”.
According to Principal, Rod McClure, “We know that if teachers organised all of the events, then the day would be much more structured. But our aim is to teach leadership, not entertain the students, and so after the day, students will have a chance to constructively evaluate what happened and learn from their experience”.
It all sounds uncannily familiar, rather like the successful changes made to the student council at Queanbeyan High, where the SRC raised thousands of dollars through sausage sizzles and cake sales for school refurbishment, charitable work and other community initiatives.
This year, the Braidwood Central School SRC is being run as a “Committee of the Whole” rather than through annual elections. Under this system, every student in the school is invited to be a member of the SRC. All they need do, is turn up to the weekly meetings and participate in SRC events. At the end of the year, the school will look back on these students that actually worked and acknowledge them at presentation night with badges of office.
As a result, Guilfoyle says, the SRC is now full of ‘work horses’ rather than ‘show ponies.’