VCAL Achievement Awards - recognising the achievements of VCAL students, teachers and partner organisations. Nomination close 20 November 2017.

Student Achievement Award Winners 2016

Foundation Personal Development Skills

Hannah Stewart

VCAL Provider – Gippsland Grammar

Hannah receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Hannah Stewart with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

While completing her Foundation VCAL certificate over three years, Hannah focused her time working on a number of community activities for other students and staff at her school.

Hannah arranged for Gippsland Grammar to join the Red25 Blood Donor campaign and with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, she encouraged staff and students to donate, promoting the Red25 donation drive to the wider school community.

Hannah also assisted with making costumes for a Year 1 Christmas play; she planned, made and delivered hundreds of sandwiches for a Grandparents’ morning at the primary school; and raised money for a Shave For a Cure fundraiser for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Hannah’s outstanding effort in completing her VCAL Foundation Certificate has led her to consider enrolling in the Certificate III in Education Support, so she can continue her great work in helping junior students in the classroom.


Foundation Work Related Skills

Celeste Bognar

VCAL Provider – Education Centre Gippsland (ECG) College

Celeste receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Celeste Bognar with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

Celeste has shown outstanding effort, teamwork and dedication in her contribution to the VCAL program at the ECG College in Warragul. She was a major contributor in the planning, design and construction of a campus graffiti wall at ECG College Warragul, complimenting it with a unique mural of street art.

Celeste was a major contributor to the activity where she was involved in discussions, planning, using ICT and other technology, and using aerosol cans to paint.

Celeste worked with her team to ensure all aspects of the structure were completed correctly and using safe work protocols. She continually reflected on her efforts and discussed aspects of the process with her peers.

Through her skill and determination, Celeste has made a major contribution to the design, build and completion of the graffiti wall and its unique mural elements. She helped create a successful project that will be enjoyed by the whole school community, and regularly repainted with new designs, well into the future.


Foundation Team Achievement

Brittany Wierzbinski, Katelyn Grande, Udari Fernando, Ben Beswick and Jack Costani-Henderson

VCAL Provider – Narre Warren P-12 College

Brittany, Katelyn, Udari, Ben and Aaron receive award certificates and trophies from Judith

L-R: Brittany Wierzbinski, Katelyn Grande, Narre Warren South P-12 College Assistant Principal Aaron Sykes, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley, Udari Fernando, Ben Beswick. Absent: Jack Costani-Henderson.

The VCAL Foundation team at Narre Warren South P-12 College excelled in their contribution to the school with the development of a vertical wall garden project.

The project was planned around three core concepts: sustainability, homelessness and community, covering basic issues facing the local and broader communities. Students completed a PowerPoint presentation linking rural, urban and suburban communities with the issue of homelessness. They then linked this to sustainability as a major contributor in helping communities and the homeless.

The students collectively researched, designed, sourced and constructed the sustainable and thriving vertical box garden that ensured ongoing supply of produce.

To make a positive difference to the community, the College donated the produce to OzHarvest who distributed it to organisations involved in feeding the homeless community. So far over 30kg of produce has been donated to OzHarvest to help feed homeless people around Melbourne.

The garden continues to thrive with intermediate Building and Construction students working to heighten the enclosure and double the capacity of the vertical wall garden. The VCAL Foundation team have made an excellent contribution to their college. Their successful and productive garden will continue to be nurtured by future Foundation VCAL classes, and enjoyed by the College and the wider community for years to come.


Intermediate Personal Development Skills

Adam Chrystie

VCAL Provider – Diamond Valley College

Adam receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Adam Chrystie with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

During his Intermediate VCAL course Adam organised a highly successful  project bringing fellow VCAL students together to donate blood at the Red Cross Blood Bank, amongst other inspiring activities.

On the donation day, the class travelled into the city and eight students and one teacher donated blood. It was a highly successful project that brought the class together and accomplished a community service.

Since the project, Adam has received positive feedback from the school and from the wider community, encouraging and promoting his efforts. Even today, the students get text messages saying that their blood has been used to save a life.

As well as his project with the Red Cross, Adam became involved in the ‘Working Communities Program’ run through the Local Learning and Employment Network. As part of his involvement, he took part in a number workshops and presentations and attended an excursion to the Salvation Army in the city to learn about homelessness. Through these projects, Adam has shown himself to be an inspiring and compassionate leader, and for this Adam should be very proud.


Intermediate Team Achievement

Matthew Iozzi, Lauren Huber, Kaylah Floreani, Abdullahi Ali and Jayde Plumley

VCAL Provider – Melbourne Polytechnic

Matthew, Lauren, Pierina, Kaylah and Abdullahi receive award certificates and trophies from Judith

L-R: Matthew Iozzi, Lauren Huber, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley, Melbourne Polytechnic VCAL teacher Pierina Sassella, Kaylah Floreani, Abdullahi Ali. Absent: Jayde Plumley

These VCAL students have worked exceptionally hard and shown great commitment to making positive changes in their community. Issues of domestic violence, mental health, and homelessness affect many students’ lives in the broader VCAL community, and awareness of these issues as well as a desire to make a difference drove this team of Intermediate VCAL students.

The Banyule Community Health Services approached the Melbourne Polytechnic students about a project to help the community. The Intermediate team came up with three proposals: providing recreational equipment to a women’s refuge centre to accommodate teenagers escaping domestic violence; creating a safe space at Melbourne Polytechnic for students who suffer mental health issues; and making hygiene packs for families and homeless youth in the community.

Banyule Community Health Services were so impressed by the students’ submissions that they granted them all three projects. The team purchased a terrific array of recreational equipment and materials to accommodate the needs of young people entering The Good Samaritan Women’s shelter. For the VCAL community at Melbourne Polytechnic, they created a ‘chill out’ reflective environment, with comfortable furniture and reading material on Mental Health. This has been fully appreciated and the space respectfully used.

The Intermediate VCAL team worked hard to complete scaffolding assignments, manage teams and tasks, inspire their classmates, and meet deadlines to ensure the completion of all projects. Finally, the funding stakeholders invited the students to present their projects at La Trobe University to other students, teachers, and community members. The presentations were undertaken professionally and with confidence.


Hayden Singh, Kayla Perrymeant, Paige McKenner, Annaliese McKay, Jake Maggs-Preston, Scott Archer and Madison Melton

VCAL Provider – Mount Evelyn Christian School/Ranges TEC

Hayden, Kayla, Paige, Annaliese, Jake, Scott and Glenn receive award certificates and trophies from Judith

L-R: Hayden Singh, Kayla Perrymeant, Paige McKenner, Ranges TEC VCAL and VET teacher Vicky Eborall, Director Ric Thorpe, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley, VCAL and VET teacher Glenn Booth, Annaliese McKay, Jake Maggs-Preston, Scott Archer. Absent: Madison Melton

In 2016, VCAL Hospitality students at Ranges TEC put their skills into action and ran a school canteen once a week. They worked efficiently and effectively as a team, planning, communicating and delegating with fairness, respect and maturity.

As well as honing their teamwork skills, the students communicated with customers, priced products, checked online orders and planned menus, practising their literacy, oracy, numeracy and IT skills.

The team also extended their Hospitality skills into the community by planning and catering for a fundraising dinner for the charity TLC Support Inc. Initially the students visited TLC Support Inc. to find out about some of the issues the charity addressed. They looked at the support available as well as generating ideas for further support. The team planned and organised a three-course dinner for nearly 150 guests to raise awareness of the TLC Support Inc programs.

The team’s incredible commitment and hard work in establishing the canteen has resulted in a great legacy for VCAL Hospitality students. Their motivation and achievement will continue to inspire students well into the future. 


Senior Personal Development Skills

Alexander Dietzel

VCAL Provider – Dromana Secondary College

Alexander receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Alexander Dietzel with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

Alex’s project this year was to raise awareness and understanding of people on the autism spectrum. Showing great independence and drive, Alex led a team of three other students, also passionate about the issue, to plan, organise and run a community awareness campaign on autism.

Alex also organised a guest speaker from the I Can Network to come and talk to the Years 11 and 12 VCAL students about autism and what it is like to have autism.

Alex and his team organised a whole school free dress day to raise awareness for autism. Led by Alex, the team proposed the event to the school council, prepared promotional posters around the school and created ribbon pins for teachers and students to show their support. Alex’s group raised $984 for the I Can Network, the highest amount of money raised by the school for a free dress day.

Alex has shown great ambition, work ethic and drive for his project. As school captain, he also helped organise and promote other projects, including the Two Bays hike from the Cape Schanck Lighthouse through to Dromana, in which he also participated while rallying his fellow students.


Tahlia Dunkley

VCAL Provider – Carrum Downs Secondary College

Tahlia receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Tahlia Dunkley with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

In 2016 Tahlia achieved VCAL excellence by leading two community-focused projects. One was working with the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria to develop an awareness program for epilepsy, and the other organising a Ladies Day Fundraiser for a local charity.

Tahlia organised a free dress day for the Epilepsy Foundation Purple Day event in addition to speaking to Years 11 and 12 VCAL students and to a whole school assembly about the effects of epilepsy on many lives. The presentation touched many people and was filmed and uploaded onto the Foundation’s website, attracting thousands of views and many inspiring comments.

Tahlia also supported local charity Mums Supporting Families In Need through a Ladies Day Fundraiser. The day included market stalls, silent auctions and a keynote address from the local member for Carrum, Sonya Kilkenny. The event raised over $1000 for the organisation.

Through pursuing her passions in VCAL, Tahlia was awarded the VCAL High Achiever of the Year at Carrum Downs Secondary College and the Excellence Award at the Peninsula VCAL Achievement Awards. Tahlia continues to use her high-level leadership skills developed throughout the VCAL program


Senior Work Related Skills

Seth Denny

VCAL Provider – Lilydale Heights College

Seth receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Seth Denny with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

In 2016 Seth’s achievements in Work Related Skills Senior were exemplary. He demonstrated leadership and craftsmanship in his project, as well as professionalism in all his work-related endeavours.

Seth designed and produced a selection of planter boxes for Lilydale Heights College. His idea was that vegetables and herbs could be grown at the College for use by the Foods department in the College. Seth and his team landscaped a designated area and established the plants. News of the boxes generated much interest from members of the community wanting to purchase their own boxes.

After visiting Redwood Community Centre in Warburton, where he first saw a raised vegetable planter box, Seth decided he would make three for Lilydale Heights College. He enlisted the support of two class members, created a design brief, sourced and priced the materials and liaised with the technology department for use of their equipment, tools and space.

During the project, Seth developed a quality assurance process and adhered to workplace health and safety guidelines while using workplace technology and equipment. His success led to a group of Intermediate VCAL students requesting that he instruct them in the making of more planter boxes. Seth organised the training and two more boxes were made. His legacy is continuing into this year.


Senior Team Achievement

Brandon Mubaria, Maddison Clark, Sam Duncan, Courtney Frazer, Ashleigh Grimes, Elizabeth Hennessey, Teale Maxworth, Kynen Robin, Daniel Severino, Tia-Rae Wieneroider, Riley Williams and Chris Osborne

VCAL Provider – Mount Lilydale Mercy College

Brandon and Steve receive award certificates and trophies from Judith,

L-R: Mount Lilydale Mercy College Applied Learning Coordinator Steve Tarulli, student Brandon Mubaria, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley. Absent: Maddison Clark, Sam Duncan, Courtney Frazer, Ashleigh Grimes, Elizabeth Hennessey, Teale Maxworth, Kynen Robin, Daniel Severino, Tia-Rae Wieneroider, Riley Williams, Chris Osborne

The Senior VCAL student team at Mount Lilydale Mercy College have worked diligently in all aspects of the program and have positively contributed to their local community. At Intermediate level, many of these students were involved in building a puppet theatre for the Mt Evelyn Toy Library. The students were keen to continue this partnership at Senior level in 2016.

They undertook a project to provide a greater variety of toys to the Toy Library. They researched a range of existing toys and visited a local childcare centre to assess the toys’ qualities and effectiveness to meet developmental goals.

With their insights the students finalised and delivered a number of presentations to the Library Secretary to further develop their ideas. The team then began gathering resources, some recycled and others ordered online.

Students collaborated in providing feedback on designs, sharing materials, and building the toys. Each student brought their own unique set of skills to the task and assisted each other to achieve outcomes.

When it came time to present the toys to the Library, the team appointed a spokesperson and each student wrote a brief speech which was delivered to the Toy Library president, secretary and parents. The story was featured in the Lilydale Leader, promoting the achievements of the VCAL students and also the community resource that is the Toy Library.

Throughout the year the Senior VCAL team have become autonomous self-directed learners, who have shown their commitment to succeed and make a positive difference in the lives of others.


Senior Outstanding Achievement

Brenton Cutler

VCAL Provider – Education Centre Gippsland (ECG) College

Brenton receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Brenton Cutler with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

In 2016 Brenton successfully completed his Senior VCAL. Brenton set himself goals to produce outstanding work. Demonstrating a mature outlook on life and playing a leadership role in the classroom saw him successfully achieve the Bronze level Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

Brenton showed independence through part-time work with a cleaning company, which enabled him to complete his required work-related skills outcomes. He encouraged and assisted his peers in seeking and applying for work, and ensured that this work did not affect his attendance at the College or the goals he had set himself.

As a part of Personal Development, Brenton not only completed his Bronze Level Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, but also organised and participated in a visiting program at Cooinda Lodge Aged Care Facility, exhibiting sensitivity and great communication skills with the residents.

The highlight of the year was when Brenton was awarded the Baw Baw Shire Educational Scholarship. This award is to encourage students who have shown consistent efforts despite obstacles to study. Brenton’s outstanding effort has resulted in great academic success. He is currently undertaking further study in digital animation to explore that industry for future employment.


School-based Apprentice/Trainee

Seth Denny

VCAL Provider – Lilydale Heights College

Seth receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Seth Denny with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

In 2016 Seth’s achievements were exemplary. He demonstrated leadership and craftsmanship in his VCAL project, as well as professionalism in all his work-related endeavours, particularly his completion of a school-based apprenticeship with JKC Air Conditioning Services in Kilsyth South. He has worked on a range of industrial, commercial and residential sites with other tradespeople and co-workers and earned a reputation as a motivated hard worker with initiative, enthusiasm and commitment.


Koori Student Achievement

Chelsea Chatfield

VCAL Provider – Stawell Secondary College

Chelsea receives award certificate and trophy from Judith

Chelsea Chatfield with Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley

In 2016 Chelsea’s VCAL studies focused on the issue of Closing the Gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. Chelsea planned, organised and carried out a range of projects and fundraisers aimed at Closing the Gap for Indigenous education, with a major focus on developing a joint partnership between Stawell Secondary College, the Cathy Freeman Foundation and the Stawell Athletic Club.

Throughout all phases of the project Chelsea showed great dedication and passion, and a willingness to work well beyond the VCAL outcomes. Chelsea liaised with a broad range of stakeholders, from company CEOs to students at school to Cathy Freeman herself, and maintained a thorough folio of evidence of her work.

Chelsea successfully developed an ongoing and sustainable partnership between the Cathy Freeman Foundation, the Stawell Athletic Club and Stawell Secondary College. Over the four days of the Stawell Easter Gift, Chelsea and her team helped raise in excess of $5000.

Chelsea’s time management skills and ability to work autonomously are evidenced by her immense achievements. Her work ethic and commitment to and vision for Indigenous education have inspired staff and fellow students.