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Student Achievement Award Winners 2015

Foundation Personal Development Skills

Matthew Johnson-Begg

VCAL Provider – Wangaratta District Specialist School

Matthew Johnson-Begg
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Matthew received the Wangaratta District Specialist School’s Annual Inspirational Leadership Award, recognising his exceptional commitment to VCAL, outstanding leadership qualities and contribution to the Wangaratta School and wider community. Matthew graduated with a Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology, and a Certificate II in Automotive Studies (Pre-vocational), winning the award for Outstanding Technical Education Centre Student (Automotive).

While studying, Matthew became involved with community groups and projects including Meals on Wheels, helping elderly people in the community. He also became involved with Clean Up Australia, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Daffodil Day, Shave for a Cure, Jeans for Genes Day, and the VCAL Achievement Award–winning Spirit of Christmas pop-up gift shop, now in its third year of trading. This shop has seen Matthew dedicate part of his September holidays to constructing and planting boxes to be used as gifts in the pop-up shop.

Matthew represented his school in soccer, basketball, cricket and the North- Eastern All Abilities soccer team in the statewide championships tournament. Matthew has always displayed great sportsmanship towards his peers and other sporting teams, assisting fellow students with skill-building activities and motivating them to pursue their own sporting goals.

Matthew’s long-term membership of the Scouts has led to him becoming an Assistant Scout Leader. In 2015, the Governor of Victoria presented Matthew with the Queen’s Scout Award. This prestigious award acknowledges Matthew’s commitment to self-improvement and service to the community.

Matthew was very proactive in establishing his work placement. He prepared for and obtained his driver’s licence, and saved the money to buy himself a 4WD ute, enabling him to access his work placement at Alpine Performance Centre, 78 kilometres from his home. Since then he has been proactive in setting up his own Structured Workplace Learning placements in Wangaratta.

Matthew has grown into a self-confident, empathetic and mature young man with an excellent work ethic.

 

Foundation Work Related Skills

Hayden Cox and Rachelle Dowling

VCAL Provider – Education Centre Gippsland (ECG) College

Rachelle Dowling
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Hayden and Rachelle excelled in the Work Related Skills challenge at Education Centre Gippsland (ECG) College to build a unique cubbyhouse. Their considerable effort led to the opportunity to sell the cubby with the assistance of local partners in Pakenham.

Hayden and Rachelle began by viewing an example of the type of structure to be built. They then built a model from a simple plan, discussing issues of size, scale and materials. After developing a clear understanding of these issues, the students considered personal protection equipment for safe work. They viewed and tested this equipment, which consisted of gloves, eye protection and hearing protection.

Each week Hayden and Rachelle were an integral part of the construction process. They performed many aspects of the building task and quickly developed skills and knowledge to build walls and roofing components. They worked well with other students and learnt how to use tools safely and competently.

Hayden and Rachelle worked through each stage of the process, from the completion of accurate and solid timber framing to nailing and gluing these into position, to ensuring the sheet cladding was correctly fitted and secure, to using more specialised technology to fit windows and window frames. They prepared decorative pillars for aesthetic appeal and painted the structure using a combination of brush and roller. As they worked, Hayden and Rachelle discussed aspects of the process with their peers and continually reflected on their efforts.

While undertaking this challenge, the students proved their ability to check the accuracy of their work, and showed that they could work with others on a complex, long-term project. Hayden and Rachelle gained a sense of confidence and satisfaction in seeing the cubby on display at the local cubby construction factory, Country Cubbies, for public viewing and sale on eBay.

Hayden and Rachelle were major contributors to this activity. They both showed outstanding dedication and consistency in all their efforts in this VCAL program for Work Related Skills.

 

Foundation Outstanding Achievement

Bus Bibi Syed Juma

VCAL Provider – Northern Bay College P–12

Bus Bibi Syed Juma
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

In 2013 Bibi arrived in Australia as a humanitarian refugee. Having had only three years of formal schooling, Bibi has shown exceptional commitment to undertaking studies in VCAL and VET Health.

Bibi excelled in Foundation Numeracy, particularly in the domains of money and time. This has been reflected in her home, where she helps her mother manage the household budget, and in her ambition to become a registered nurse, which involves high levels of numeracy during higher education and in practice. Bibi took part in the NAB $20 Boss Challenge, working with two other students to run a successful cupcake stall. The students were responsible for budgeting, shopping, advertising and production. Bibi managed receipts and finances, and ensured that the team made a profit through excellent marketing and a product that was well received.

Bibi also excelled in literacy and used her writing skills to draft, edit and send a letter to the Immigration Minister on the issue of children in detention. Bibi has a particular understanding about people seeking asylum and used her newly acquired English language skills to express herself eloquently and professionally. Bibi also undertook a community-based literacy project with local cultural organisation Diversitat. She created an engaging and informative YouTube video on key lessons for new arrivals to Australia, with helpful information on the local area.

In 2015 Bibi was a part of the Upstart challenge, a Geelong initiative that provides the opportunity for the local community to show off its entrepreneurial skills. Bibi and her team made a short film pitching the idea of a community garden, born from a mutual interest in food from Afghanistan. The group won $300 and have been given further resourcing and community backing to make their garden happen in 2016.

Bibi is an exceptional student, completing all her studies and using these new skills and knowledge to extend herself both in school and in her local community.

 

Intermediate Personal Development Skills

Rebecca Boughey

VCAL Provider – Pakenham Secondary College

Rebecca Boughey
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

In 2015 Rebecca successfully participated in two major Advance community collaborative partnerships, demonstrating her commitment to developing personal skills, passion for working with young people and interest in helping animals.

Rebecca’s focus on childcare led her to work with a group of Year 7 students on a community project involving the Port of Melbourne, Stella Maris Seafarer’s Centre, the Artopia Gallery and Pakenham Secondary College staff. The Year 7 group visited the Port of Melbourne and the Stella Maris Seafarer’s Centre and worked with an artist to make a large mosaic, which now hangs in the Centre’s main hall. Rebecca became so engaged with the project that she expanded her original role from documenting the project to mentoring the students and supporting their personal development.

Rebecca built a rapport with the students and helped the group work cohesively, applying a range of strategies that ensured all students were working well together in a safe environment. Through the process, Rebecca supported the artist and liaised with the teacher.

Using an iPad and a camera, Rebecca recorded the stages of the year- long process and worked for many hours to produce a three-minute documentary. This film was screened and well received at Comview 2015, the Victorian Commercial Teachers Association’s annual conference.

As well as the Year 7 project, Rebecca was also fully committed to the success of her own cohort’s wildlife project. Inspired by a presentation given by the President of the Australian Wildlife Assistance Rescue and Education (AWARE), Rebecca suggested raising funds for AWARE by making craft items that were sustainable, affordable and easy to make, and selling them at a local market. After researching local markets, Rebecca recommended to her team that their craft items could be sold at the Berwick Sunday Market.

Rebecca liaised with college staff, AWARE and Berwick Market management to ensure all processes and procedures were completed in time. On the day she interacted with the public in a professional and friendly manner, kept a record of sales and helped with packing up at the end. The students raised just over $300 for AWARE.

With these projects, Rebecca has developed her communication skills and her understanding of what it means to be a citizen in the community.

 

Intermediate Work Related Skills

Rhianna Mumford

VCAL Provider – Warragul Regional College

Rhianna Mumford
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Rhianna is a highly motivated and well-organised VCAL student, contributing to a range of activities both independently and within a team environment. Her outstanding achievements in VCAL are exemplified by her efforts, along with fellow VCAL students, in a fundraising project to organise transport to and from a work placement. This initiative highlighted Rhianna’s capacity to identify potential sponsors and establish partnerships with them.

Rhianna is highly respected by her peers and is ever ready to work with students in other year levels in supportive and mentoring roles. Her involvement as a mentor to students in Year 7 further highlighted her sense of community, and an ability to interact and empathise with younger students.

Rhianna’s involvement in the VET Certificate II and III in Racing (Stable Hand) course and her work placement with two employers has demonstrated that Rhianna is a passionate, hard-working, competent and mature young woman. She has a very clear vision of her career goals and has recognised that undertaking VCAL studies was the most effective and productive starting point towards achieving those goals.

Rhianna is an outstanding ambassador for the Warragul Regional College and a model VCAL student who has shown herself to be flexible, adaptable and well organised, meeting course outcomes both at school, in her VETiS studies and in her work placements.

 

Intermediate Team Achievement

Cody Bamford, Jayden Herbert

VCAL Provider – Narre Warren South P–12 College

L-R: Jayden Herbert, Narre Warren South P-12 College
VCAL Building and Construction teacher Craig Johnston
and Cody Bamford
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Jayden and Cody both excelled in VCAL, undertaking studies in furniture- making along with Certificate II in Building and Construction. During the year the boys came up with a plan to develop two areas of Narre Warren South P–12 College grounds as part of their VET studies. Both areas were in need of development to maximise useable space for students. The boys asked their fellow students what they thought they would most use, and ‘seating’ was the overwhelming response. In conjunction with their teacher, the boys came up with a cost-effective design to create multiple seats and stages for use for outdoor classes and concerts.

Using resources from the technology department, the boys worked out that each seat would cost around $150 to build in materials. With approval from the technology domain leader, the boys created a clever box design. The design fulfilled the brief and improved the safety of the college community, because it prevented students from playing ball games in an area that already had a lot of staff and student traffic.

Working together and with other enthusiastic students, the boys built over 30 new seats and designed a stage for the VET Music students to hold lunchtime concerts. Throughout the project they developed a range of skills in leadership, time management, organisation as well as the skills specific to their chosen industry.

Cody and Jayden worked hard in the classroom and excelled in their Industry Specific Skills and Work Related Skills units. They have made an exceptional contribution to their school, which will be ongoing and greatly appreciated by all of the students who follow them.

 

Senior Personal Development Skills

Thomas Hunter

VCAL Provider – Goroke P–12 College

Thomas Hunter
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Thomas successfully oversaw the completion of a project that has created strong links between Goroke Kindergarten and Goroke P–12 College. The project has become an integral part of the College’s VCAL program and will continue to be built upon into the future.

The project began when VCAL students approached the kindergarten to see if they could offer support. The director wanted to introduce chickens to the kindergarten program and Thomas volunteered his skills to build a chicken coop. He enquired about the cost of materials and about the possibility of a local donation. This led to Bunnings Horsham providing a chicken coop kit. Thomas then constructed the coop and designed and constructed an extension run to allow the chickens space to move around when they were locked up.

Thomas managed the grand opening of the chicken coop, organising and supporting his peers to prepare morning tea for the guests, run chicken and egg activities and complete the chicken dance with the kinder students. He also approached organisations to donate items for show bags for the students and their siblings. On the day, he thanked the organisations that had helped him complete the project, and followed up with thank-you letters.

Thomas took the initiative to explore ways that the College and Kindergarten could further develop projects together. Seven VCAL students led by Thomas took on different roles. The VCAL group went on to build a cubbyhouse for the Kindergarten in Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills. The group also visited the Kindergarten and hosted the students at their College so they could complete art lessons and see the progress of their cubby. Thomas also built a mud kitchen for the Kindergarten, which he worked on and completed independently.

Throughout these projects, Thomas demonstrated a mature and professional approach. He communicated effectively with a range of people and demonstrated a significant increase in his confidence through public speaking, telephone calls and face-to-face conversations.

 

Senior Senior Outstanding Achievement

Corey Everitt

VCAL Provider – Yarra Valley Community School

Corey Everitt
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Corey successfully completed his Senior VCAL to a high standard. Corey’s achievements have included landscaping for elderly people and people with disabilities, creating a documentary on the people living in a nursing home and making several high-quality presentations.

Corey became a driving force in his landscaping project for Work Related Skills. He drummed up business for their social enterprise through talking to shopkeepers and members of the public and promoting it on the front page of the local paper. Corey took on a leadership role in delivering the project and organising his fellow students to complete their landscaping tasks to a high standard. Corey used his newfound determination to secure a job at Bowens, the local hardware store. He has since excelled in this job and received high commendations from his managers.

Corey was a leading member of his Personal Development Skills film project. He helped direct and edit a documentary that detailed the lives and interests of the residents in a local nursing home. Corey also participated in a program to deliver games, manicures and massages to the residents.

Corey’s most outstanding contribution was in literacy. To prepare him for further education Corey was challenged to write at an advanced standard and word count. Corey exceeded expectations on every occasion. Writing on a broad range of topics, Corey proved himself a very talented writer with a curiosity to explore issues that interest him. Corey is an inspiration to those around him and he is highly deserving of this formal recognition for his achievements. Corey’s character development and determination to improve have been inspirational. He has developed the confidence and resilience required to set him up for success at university and beyond.

 

Senior Team Achievement

Harrison Goss, Kallum Harper, Sean Hebblethwaite, Alex Hermle, Daniel Lando, Samantha Reker, Connor Seaye, Joshua Short, Jarrod Thaller, Hayley Wilson

VCAL Provider – Mount Lilydale Mercy College

L-R: Mount Lilydale Mercy College Applied
Learning Coordinator Steve Tarulli, Samantha Reker,
The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Joshua Short

The Senior VCAL student team at Mount Lilydale Mercy College have worked diligently in all aspects of its program and have positively contributed to their local community, in particular, the Kinglake Memorial Reserve project.

A member of the Kinglake Football Association first introduced the students to the Kinglake Memorial Reserve project. This included a presentation to the class that described the tragic Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. Students were moved by the presentation, especially those who had had their own experience of the bushfire. When the students discovered the run-down state of the memorial garden commemorating the emergency service workers, they set about developing a plan to help.

After forming groups and establishing roles, each team wrote a proposal for their part of the project, detailing the tools and materials needed. Daniel, Connor and Jarrod assumed responsibility for the garden, Joshua took on the job of refurbishing the plaque, Hayley and Sam led the promotion and fundraising campaign, and Kallum and Sean, who studied VET Building and Construction, built a shelter over the plaque. Alex and Harrison made the bench seating more comfortable.

To fund materials, the class sought donations. Despite some early setbacks the students soon secured funding and building materials to begin work. A trip was organised to collect the donated materials, Students talked to staff at the local hardware store and nursery about their projects, demonstrating knowledge they had gained through their research.

Once work began, students had to be efficient and organised – the Kinglake Memorial Reserve is a 90-minute return drive. Students worked through their assigned tasks, weeding, planting new vegetation, sanding and re-lacquering the plaque, and making the shelter for the plaque. The boys consulted their VET teacher and discussed the required building regulations, using problem- solving skills to overcome difficulties on site.

Throughout the year the Senior VCAL students have become autonomous, self-directed learners who want to succeed and make a positive difference in the lives of others. Their enthusiasm to do well is clearly evident, impressing teachers and peers, and raising the profile of VCAL within Mount Lilydale Mercy College and the broader community.

 

VCAL School-based Apprentice/Trainee

Brooke Thornhill

VCAL Provider – Catholic College Sale

Brooke Thornhill
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Brooke decided early on that VCAL and a School-based Apprenticeship with a pastry chef or baker was the best option for her. She embraced the challenge and successfully completed the VCAL Intermediate and Senior Certificate while undertaking an apprenticeship with Centre Bakery in Sale. Brooke became a highly valued staff member at the bakery and achieved outstanding results for her apprenticeship training modules.

Brooke developed as a leader at the Catholic College, becoming a house captain. Brooke also used the skills developed during her apprenticeship to teach other VCAL students how to prepare and make pastries, enhancing their key employability skills. Brooke established a coffee and cake shop within the college, to sell pastries that she and other students had prepared. Brooke established a staff charter and negotiated and established realistic goals for the business and her student employees. Brooke created a great working environment supporting other students to be actively engaged and motivated to help achieve her goals. Their shop raised $1500, which Brooke donated to the Beyond Blue Foundation.

Brooke has been an inspiration to her peers and to the college’s applied learning teaching staff. She has displayed selflessness and developed into a very confident, humble, inspiring young adult. Brooke has achieved her goals with a great deal of success and pride, and has improved her communication, planning and organisation skills.

Brooke is a great example of how VCAL can be structured to meet student’s individual learning needs and make learning relevant and meaningful. As Brooke moves into her career as a baker and pastry chef and onto the next stage of her education, she has set her goals to successfully complete her apprenticeship and eventually open her own business.

 

Koori Student Achievement

Justice McDonald

VCAL Provider – Melbourne Polytechnic

Justice McDonald
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Justice achieved his Intermediate VCAL in 2015. He worked exceptionally hard in all areas of the Melbourne Polytechnic VCAL program, achieving some major accomplishments through Personal Development Skills and Work Related Studies units.

A committed student, Justice made a tremendous contribution to the Melbourne Polytechnic Intermediate VCAL program, in particular, the community project to raise awareness about the risks of nightclubbing. Justice researched the impact of drugs, alcohol, violence, and their risks, and created an informative, well-structured, 20-minute PowerPoint presentation. He wrote the transcript and narrated a voiceover for the presentation.

Justice was involved in writing the submission for funding which was awarded to the students by Banyule Community Health Services. When it came to presenting his project at the award ceremony, Justice demonstrated strong leadership and communication skills, standing up in front of high profile delegates at La Trobe University, including the Vice Chancellor, Mayor of Banyule Council, and local community representatives. Justice represented his class at the ceremony with grace and diplomacy, and gave an inspiring account of the project outline, as well as introducing the accompanying PowerPoint, which he orchestrated in a detailed and professional manner. He also helped organise the event, including the promotional material, catering, and sound and technology requirements. It was a resounding success.

Justice completed his work placement at Ilbijerri Theatre Company where he assisted with the Tanderrum production (an Aboriginal ceremony about letting go of the problems of the past and embracing the future together). Through his experience at Ilbijerri, he saw his first ever live show, which he describes as surreal. Justice gained the trust of the crew to answer phones and respond to emails, as well as updating spreadsheets for the company. The opportunity to work with people from his own cultural background gave him great inspiration and motivation to continue in pursuit of his dreams and aspirations.

Justice has excelled in all areas of his VCAL studies, including the completion of his work placement. He is a well-respected and well-mannered young man who is sure to succeed in any area of life he chooses to pursue.

 

Dharna Nicholson-Bux

VCAL Provider – Narre Warren South P–12 College

Dharna Nicholson-Bux
with The Honourable James Merlino MP,
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Dharna is an outstanding ambassador for the Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta people and for the VCAL program at Narre Warren South P–12 College. Dharna achieved excellence across all areas of VCAL, particularly in VET Community Services and her structured workplace learning. She has displayed great pride in her cultural background and is a strong advocate for a vibrant and multicultural Australia.

Dharna was the face of Melbourne Museum’s First Peoples exhibition, alongside noted elders and leaders. Dharna is also known for her work as a lead dancer and choreographer in Djirri Djirri (Wurundjeri for ‘willie wagtail’), an Indigenous dance group, and has written songs in the Wurundjeri and Yort-Yorta languages.

Dharna’s activities include running workshops such as the Interpretive Sign tour about the shared histories of Pound Bend, presenting Welcome to Country ceremonies, assisting with presentations on Aboriginal culture, advertising for Tourism Victoria with Djirri Djirri Dance Group, presenting the Tanderrum ceremony at Federation Square, which is a coming together for the five tribes of the Kulin Nation from central Victoria, and assisting in the Murrum Turukuruk ceremony, which is a woman’s coming-of-age ceremony.

Dharna is a wonderful student and strong advocate for a tolerant multicultural society. She works to build bridges between communities and has a very successful future as a strong leader within and beyond her community.

Dharna has demonstrated a desire to succeed and a strong work ethic, a sense of personal pride and a willingness to stand up for others. She is a shining example of the positive influence of VCAL at Narre Warren South P–12 College.