May feature stories
Celebrating VCAL excellence
As schools adapted to online spaces, so too did the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Achievement Awards. The awards ceremony was held online on Tuesday 28 April, with more than 200 people tuning in to the live event. Award recipients and attendees from across Victoria joined the event on laptops, smart phones and tablets, watching from various locations, including Warrnambool, Kyabram, Traralgon and Geelong.
The VCAL Achievement Awards celebrate the outstanding endeavours of students who completed a VCAL qualification in 2019, as well as the exceptional contributions of VCAL teachers and community partners.
Suzy Chandler, Executive Director of Curriculum at the VCAA, hosted the event as Master of Ceremonies. She noted the unique circumstances of delivering the ceremony online and the importance of recognising achievements within VCAL. ‘We know that the traditional classroom setting is not always the best environment for every student to thrive in, so VCAL plays a key role in ensuring students gain practical experiences that prepare them for future success.’
The ceremony recognised 32 award recipients, including the student team from Narre Warren South P–12 College, Dylan Charter, Jade Hillas, Andrija Prebanda and Brandon Stevenson, who ran a successful Year 10 Wellbeing Day; Madeline Pangrazio, Kyabram P–12 College, whose initiative and leadership helped her break into the electrician trade; and Jack Ramsay, Broadford Secondary College, whose outstanding efforts include starting a café at his school, organising fundraisers and assisting younger students at the local primary school.
Guest speaker Elaya Carbone from Monbulk College, recipient of a Senior Student Award for Outstanding Achievement, described how VCAL enabled her to pursue becoming a professional chef, while simultaneously completing high school.
‘VCAL has taught me things I could not have learnt through a textbook. I learnt a lot about myself and realised that, given the right opportunities, I can achieve great things,’ she said.
Bobbie Evans from Emmanuel College was awarded VCAL Teacher of the Year for his exemplary direction of the VCAL program at his school and his dedicated support for students and fellow teachers. In addition, Narelle Bean of Werribee Secondary College, received the VCAA Chair’s Award, in recognition of her outstanding contribution, passion and dedication to growing the VCAL program. In accepting the award, Narelle put the spotlight back on students.
‘The students have always been the best thing about our VCAL programs. They are the ones that inspire us to strive for more, improve programs and build on their ideas. I love that we’re filling our communities with caring global citizens.’
The VCAA congratulates all VCAL Achievement Award winners. Read more about the recipients on the
VCAA Chair reappointed
Chris Wardlaw, reappointed
Chair of the VCAA
The VCAA is pleased to announce that Chris Wardlaw PSM has been reappointed to serve as Chair for the next three years. Chris brings a wealth of experience in the education sector and his reappointment will contribute to the VCAA retaining the strong leadership, experience, knowledge and expertise required of the VCAA.
Chris held Deputy Secretary roles in education in Hong Kong (2002–08) and Victoria (2009–13) before he retired. In the Hong Kong Government, he was responsible for curriculum, assessment and quality assurance for pre-primary, basic education and senior secondary education. In Victoria, he was responsible for strategy and review across the portfolio.
Before his time in Hong Kong, Chris had a long career in Victorian education, during which he took a leading role in major reforms supporting school-level decision-making, evaluation and review.
He taught economics and history at university and secondary levels before moving into educational administration.
Chris received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Public Service Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He was made a Fellow of Monash University in 2013. He is Director of the Board of Athletics Australia and Deputy Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.