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L-permits for Christmas

Christmas came early for some students at Cire Community School who recently attained their Learner Driver permits after successfully completing a Changing Gears program.

It was a particularly exciting way to end the year and given the much anticipated Changing Gears pre-learner driver education program had been rescheduled three times due to COVID restrictions.

Twelve students participated in the pre-Learner driver education program at the Mount Evelyn campus with seven ultimately gaining their Ls on the final day. All 12 students learned valuable lessons in safety, persistence and practice and had a great time engaging with the course.

The following comments help capture the value of the experience:

It was a bit confusing at times but then it made sense.

There are lots of the questions that just take time to work out the safest option. It’s like a puzzle.

Changing Gears has become an important part of what Cire Community School’s offers and helps students achieve one of the ”rites of passage” which may not otherwise be within easy reach, as well as contribute to keeping our roads safer.

It has been made possible by support and funding through the Department of Transport and VicRoads as a safer driver and passenger intervention. Students have achieved 100 per cent success rates for almost every program.

“Changing Gears gives students, and their families, the confidence to undertake their Learner’s permit test and then gain invaluable time driving under adult supervision,” explained Karen Swankie who has been instrumental in securing the necessary grant funding and overseeing the program.

“It provides a supported environment that breaks down the road rules into manageable learning opportunities and as a result, our students have been incredibly successful in gaining their Learner permits over the years.”

Changing Gears gives students, particularly those with low literacy levels and self-confidence, the opportunity to achieve success by learning the road rules in a supportive environment with their peers. Facilitators work with individual students on areas where they may require extra support and students are able to learn with their peers, which further embeds the learning. Being able to sit for the test with a group, rather than alone, helps to alleviate nervousness associated with testing.

Students in the most recent Changing Gears program loved their instructor Linda who was able to communicate the road rules in an effective manner using a range of digital and physical mediums such as videos, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations and physical maps to demonstrate traffic manoeuvres. The students particularly appreciated the practice quizzes as they gave them valuable insights into the learner’s test and further familiarised them with the rules of the road.

Linda provided lots of support to the students throughout the sessions and checked in on their wellbeing and understanding on a regular basis. Students were reminded that the Victorian road rules always looked for the safest approach and that the quizzes could be completed with common sense. Linda spent time with each student, helping develop that ‘common sense’.

On the day of the test, many of the students were excited to finally sit for their Ls. They were all very encouraging towards each other even though some were not able to pass on the day. Overall, we had a high success rate and those who did not pass have the option to try again in February.

For future students completing this course, be sure to have the correct documents and identification.

Cire has again been awarded funding for Changing Gears in 2021/2022. Our school is also set to be the benchmark in the region for a new safer vehicles intervention which is being rolled out for the first time, as well as a Looking After Our Mates online session.

Best wishes and safe driving to all those new Learners on the road!

 

 

 

Youth award honours Rosie’s service to community

Cire Community School student Rosie Hellicar, who is passionate about the importance of the Arts to overall health and wellbeing, has been recognised by the Warburton Yarra Junction Community Bank for her inspiring service to the community.

The 17-year-old was a special guest at the bank’s recent AGM where she was officially named the 2021 recipient of the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award which acknowledges a local young person’s positive contributions to their community.

Rosie was overwhelmed to receive the $1000 award and, in true form, plans to use the money to fund a VET Certificate III Music Industry (specialising in Performance) to further help the community.

Rosie believes investing in her education is investing in the local community and will benefit many more young people than just herself.

“A Cert III Music Industry would mean I could run my own program for people who can’t afford a course like this.”

The Ian De La Rue Youth award acknowledges Rosie’s community involvements and achievements including:

  • The Warburton-based MISFIT theatre project creates opportunities for youth development and empowerment, giving young people in the Upper Yarra particularly a voice and a place to belong Rosie is an assistant and has co-directed shows in the past.
  • Koha Café. Koha brings people together who might not otherwise be able to provide food for their family. Rosie helps out as a volunteer.
  • Rosie has volunteered as a disability support worker, attending camps and day activities helping children with disabilities participate in the program

In nominating Rosie for the award, teacher Kelly Taylor stated:

Rosie is truly deserving of this award because of her unwavering philosophy of service to others and the community. She is a true role model to so many other young people, having overcome many challenges in her 17 years. She is wise beyond her years

The work Rosie does to better her community has given her a sense of purpose and belonging and has enabled her to grow into the young woman she is today. Rosie takes on roles and responsibilities that are beyond her years and always has a smile on her face. She is more than capable of anything she sets her mind to.

Rosie would never self-promote herself or her abilities and always puts the needs of others first. With a quiet and shy disposition, Rosie avoids attention but her contributions and effort are worth recognising as she inspires other young people in the Yarra Valley to be true to themselves and have a sense of purpose by giving back.

With a calm and supportive demeanour, Rosie engages easily with the young people in the programs in which she is involved. Through her own lived experience, she knows how drama and music help overall health and mental wellbeing. She draws on her own experiences to help others initiate the changes they need to make to move forward with optimism and purpose and self-esteem.

Rosie has made positive contributions to her community and will continue to do so because of her giving and selfless nature. Rosie is involved in and attends many different programs and volunteers her time on youth camps and other activities. Rosie is kind and supportive and any young person attending these camps or programs would feel loved and accepted by Rosie without any judgement.

The $1000 Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award was first made in 2012 to honour the memory of the late Ian De La Rue OAM, first Chairman of the Warburton Community Bank and a member of the Steering Committee.  It is presented in the spirit of his commitment to community, and his passion for encouraging young people to strive for excellence and to be active in and contribute to their local community.

The activities and passions of award recipients are varied but they all help to strengthen and better the local community.

Ian was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his community service, in the Australia Day Honours List, 26 January 2008 (the year after he passed away).

Photo: Rosie hugs an avocado pillow – she loves avocados

Kicking goals to be AFL photographer

Aspiring AFL photographer Dylan Schafter is already kicking goals to realise his dream and has used COVID as an unexpected springboard.

The talented almost 17-year old launched his online photography business, Dyls Photography, three years ago and in his biggest career highlight to date, completed a coveted internship with the AFL’s Gold Coast Suns earlier this year.

He has won several awards for his work and one of his photographs was 11th in the Australian Photography Magazine’s Top 20 Junior Category. Further showcasing his versatility, Dylan has entered a nature photo in the Upper Yarra Community Bank’s 2022 Calendar Competition. His main motivation for entering was to highlight and share the natural beauty of the Upper Yarra.

“It is also a way of showing what I have learned in photography classes at Cire Community School’s Mount Evelyn campus,” said Dylan adding that he would have dropped out of school at Year 9 had he not switched schools to Cire. “The school is incredibly supportive.”

Dylan first developed an interest in photography at just 13, watching his brother race at BMX events and capturing “riders doing their thing”.

“When I held the camera, I saw something, my calling through the lens of photography,” he said, with his passion, willingness, determination, motivation and drive for sports photography fast-tracking him to where he is today.

Even COVID shutdowns and restrictions have failed to de-rail his quest to become an AFL photographer. He has used the time productively by sourcing and undertaking the internship with the Gold Coast Suns media team which saw his supportive family head north for their first holiday in 12 years so he could take up the invaluable opportunity. During COVID he has also explored volunteer gigs, secured a part-time job as a photographer; and further deepen his research and understanding of the profession and the pathways of the top practitioners.

Dylan says the most rewarding part of photography is holding down the shutter button and realising “you’ve captured the perfect photo”.

“Through sports photography, I’ve seen things through the lens that not many people get to see,” said Dylan whose favourite photographers are Chief Photographer of AFL, Michael Wilson and Hayden Pedersen, a freelancer/YouTuber.

“A good sports photo is based on timing, being able to follow the action; a good lens and knowing your camera.”

Dylan’s journey to date has not been without the critics having their say like, “You shouldn’t be doing photography, as you won’t get anywhere in life”.

“These words are jarring to hear,” said Dylan, adding that it was so important to follow and work towards your dreams, “Just go for it, as nothing is impossible if you put your time and mind into it.”

Describing his journey thus far, Dylan explained:

Last year during COVID-19 and lockdowns l contacted Field Of View Sports Photography based in Croydon about volunteering my time learning the ropes on how to take photos at sports events. Obviously, as COVID had hit hard there were no sporting events being played, so no photos were needed at this time. The owner, Jo loved my work but couldn’t take on a volunteer at the time. As soon as that lockdown was lifted l contacted Jo, to ask her when I could start. l have now been working for her for the past eight months. 

My greatest achievement has been my internship with the Gold Coast Suns in July. I was able to experience taking match game photos, team photos, press conferences, Captain’s run, AFLW draft selection, video and edit a team building session with the players, gym sessions and a photoshoot with some players. 

Sam Flanders - Gold Coast SunsI’m proud of all the photos I took at GCS, particularly of resigned key player Sam Flanders. It was the first time l had organised a photoshoot and they came out great…I am now a super keen GCS supporter!

My GCS experience has made me more determined than ever to reach for the stars and one day become a sports photographer for the AFL. Watch this space!!

Note. Voting closes on Sunday for the Upper Yarra Calendar Competition. For more information and to view Dylan’s beautiful On the Top image visit Upper Yarra 2022 Calendar Competition and Online Exhibition

 

Cire student a highlight of Rotary year

A presentation by Cire Community School student Elise, a Rotary scholarship recipient, was a timely and inspirational morale booster for the Rotary Club of Wandin in 2020, according to immediate past president, Paul Martin.

In reflecting on his term in office, Paul described Elise’s presentation via Zoom as a highlight of the year – COVID shutdowns and restrictions had brought the club’s community service to an abrupt halt and while members felt they were kicking few goals, they were inspired by Elise’s maturity and willingness to share her story and aspirations for the future.

Paul’s report was delivered at the club’s recent annual changeover function where Ben Vallence was inducted as the incoming president. Cire is one of the first organisational members of the club.

Paul said: “It is so rewarding to meet those who benefit from Rotary initiatives, “It gives true meaning to what we aspire to do, to make a positive difference to the lives of others.”

Elise and Wellbeing Coordinator Stephen Duke were special guests at a club Zoom meeting during a COVID lockdown in 2020, to acknowledge the awarding of a $2000 scholarship. Elise, was one of four students from the Community School to each receive $500 from the fund awarded by the club in conjunction with the overarching District 9810 which covers a large portion of Melbourne’s south east extending from Templestowe to Upper Yarra, to Chelsea to Beaumaris.

Stephen explained to the Rotary meeting that Cire Community School focuses on each student as an individual with unique needs; it’s a school of choice for young people who need a positive alternative to mainstream education.

Elise, who has missed many years of formal schooling, explained that Cire understood that challenging behaviour is a reflection of a student’s mental health and wellbeing rather than a desire to ‘act out’.

Elise impressed Rotarians with her maturity and candour and the way she articulated her story, and her determination to pursue a career in social work, drawing on her lived-experience and the challenges she has overcome at such an early age.

In his address at the recent annual changeover function, newly inducted president Ben Vallence emphasised the importance of contributing and giving back to community.

“Giving of yourself is the ultimate gift you can make to another and it’s only through volunteer organisations like Rotary where your giving can have such life changing impact.”

The father of two, he hoped that he and his wife Bridget MP, State Member for Evelyn, were leading by example for their sons with their community involvements:

“To my two beautiful boys, Rory and Emanuel. I know that Rotary might not be the coolest thing in the world for you two, but I want to thank you for your love and support of me undertaking this role. Boys, I know you may not appreciate it now, but I think you know how much your Mum and Dad have tried to set an example of giving back to your community and helping those who most need it.”

In his address, Ben commended Paul Martin, supported by his wife Trish, on his leadership during such a challenging and unprecedented term as president.

“This year’s Rotary message is to ‘Serve to Change Lives’. This message personifies the spirit of our club. Even with all the restrictions and lockdowns that the pandemic brought, our club stayed strong in helping so many in the community,” Ben said.

In 2020, the club:

  • provided more than $3,000 worth of meals as part of a Second Bite program at Wandin for those in need. Warratina Lavender Farm, owned by Rotarian Peter Manders and his wife Annemarie, donated $1500.
  • donated $2,000 to a family whose Wandin home was razed by fire.
  • funded local children to attend Rotary’s Camp Awakenings, and a further six to attend their own school camps and may have otherwise missed out because their families were experiencing financial hardship.
  • provided three children from Woori Yallock with new scooters, to help them get to school and also provide some much needed respite from COVID lockdown and restrictions.
  • delivered books to more than local 400 students as part of the Books in School program.
  • delivered 1,000 bags of apples to local students, donated by Old Oak Orchards, owned by Rotarian Gavan Corbett’s family.
  • Awarded a $2000 scholarship shared by four students at Cire Community School.

Ben said delivering the apples were a highlight for him: “My son Emanuel came running to the car with an apple in one hand yelling, ‘Dad look what Rotary gave us’.

Wandin Rotary welcomes new members. Anyone interested in club membership are invited to contact club president Ben Vallence at benvallence@gmail.com

Pictured: Newly inducted president of Wandin Rotary, Ben Vallence, and his wife Bridget and their sons Rory, 13 and Emanuel, 10.

Click here for further information on Cire Community School and education programs.

 

Students defy COVID, storm event to gain L-permits

COVID lockdowns and restrictions and a devastating storm event failed to deter a group of students from Cire Community School’s Mount Evelyn campus who pushed through the additional challenges to gain their Learner Driver’s permits.

Having completed their Changing Gears Pre-Learner Driver education program, their Learner Permit tests on the fifth and final day were postponed due to the recent COVID lockdown and then again as a result of widespread power outages and disruptions caused by the damaging storm event that pounded the region and other parts of the Victoria in early June.

It’s an anxious time for anyone preparing for their Learner permits with candidates keen to sit their tests as soon as possible when they are ready. Our students truly showed their determination, resilience and competency on the third successful attempt with a 100 per cent pass rate and, on the day, having to enter the centre one at a time over several hours to undertake their tests due to COVID social distancing restrictions.

The now learner drivers from Mount Evelyn are among a total of 18 Cire Community School students who have gained their Learner Driver’s permits in recent weeks thanks to the Changing Gears program which focuses on the knowledge required for safer drivers and passengers and good decision making. Programs were successfully delivered at the Mount Evelyn and Yarra Junction campuses but a third had to be rescheduled to August, again due to the recent COVID shutdown.

Changing Gears has become an important part of Cire Community School’s offerings for several years and helps students achieve one of the ”rites of passage” which may not otherwise be within easy reach, as well as contribute to keeping our roads safer.

It has been made possible by support and funding through the Department of Transport and VicRoads. Students have achieved 100 per cent success rates for almost every program. Of significance is that Cire has as recently awarded funding for the safer driver and passenger intervention for 2021/2022 and is set to become the benchmark in the region for a new safer vehicles intervention which is being rolled out for the first time, as well as a Looking After Our Mates online session.

 “Changing Gears gives students, and their families, the confidence to undertake their Learner’s permit test and then gain invaluable time driving under adult supervision,” explained Karen Swankie who has been instrumental in securing the necessary grant funding and overseeing the program.

“It provides a supported environment that breaks down the road rules into manageable learning opportunities and as a result, our students have been incredibly successful in gaining their Learner permits over the years. We are now very excited to be able to extend our offerings to the additional interventions of safer vehicles and also Looking After Our Mates. ”

Karen and Willa Vale, who helped coordinate the recent program at the Mount Evelyn campus, emphasised the importance for Cire students to experience success.

Willa explained: ”Changing Gears gives students, particularly those with low literacy levels and self-confidence, the opportunity to achieve success by learning the road rules in a supportive environment with their peers. Facilitators work with individual students on areas where they may require extra support and students are able to learn with their peers, which further embeds the learning. Being able to sit for the test with a group, rather than alone, helps to alleviate nervousness associated with testing. It is such a valuable program for our students.”

The following feedback from students further highlights the value of the program:

I joined the Changing Gears program to hopefully gain a clearer understanding of the Learner’s permit test and to get started on my journey to becoming a responsible driver. The program exceeded my expectations, our teacher was a kind and patient lady who was willing to explain what and why the information she was presenting was valid.  I found it to be incredibly helpful and encouraging and would recommend others do it when the opportunity comes again – Tom

I really enjoyed the program and the extra support I received – Ben

I thought it was really good. It was good that it was at school so everyone was on the same level – Myles

It helped to have the support of other students in the class to learn the stuff – Ruby

I have been waiting to get my Learners through the school with the Changing Gears program – Shaun

It was good to learn with my mates – Hugo

I wasn’t able to get my Learners during COVID so it was good to be able to finally get it – Keely

Changing Gears - learner driver program

Job Trainer – your pathway to a secure career

With many people considering future employment opportunities, Cire Training is well placed to deliver accessible and affordable pathways through Job Trainer, a Federal Government initiative designed to address changing workforce needs in our new COVID environment.

Cire Training offers a range of established courses locally that are Job Trainer subsidised and offer qualifications in sectors that have continued to grow in the past 18 months but struggle to recruit quality staff. Those who complete the courses successfully are well equipped for real job opportunities in areas including Community Services, Early Childhood, Education Support and Individual Support (Aged-Care and Disability Services).

Due to the pandemic, workers have experienced the effects of downturns in industries such as Tourism and Hospitality. At the end of 2020, Tourism Research Australia reported a 60 per cent decline in total tourism expenditure in Victoria compared to the previous year.[1] Job losses have been throughout Victoria. The City of Melbourne alone was projected to shed 15% of its workforce, 75,000 positions, while the rest of Victoria was predicted to lose 9% overall, 250,000 jobs[2].

Given such statistics, it is no surprise that job security is weighing heavily on some people’s minds.  The ‘Australia Talks National Survey 2021’ has found that 88 per cent of Australians think job security is a problem for the country.  More alarmingly, 27 per cent of people fear that they will experience unemployment within the next year.

Fortunately, there are a number of sectors that have maintained a significant level of growth over the past 18 months. Community Services, Early Childhood, Education Support and Individual Support (Aged-Care and Disability Services) continue to experience challenges in recruiting quality staff.

When the Federal Government recognised the parallel issues of people looking for stable long-term employment, plus sectors experiencing skill shortages, the Job Trainer program was born.  This initiative, supported by the state government, will fund training for approximately 320,000 by the end of 2021.  It was developed in response to COVID-19, to create opportunities for up-skilling and re-skilling and create a higher-skilled workforce, particularly in areas of skill shortages.

When considering gaining new skills, the cost of training can be a significant roadblock.  Job Trainer is an opportunity to engage in further study, at a heavily subsidised rate.  Due to the minimum eligibility requirements, many potential students are able to access the benefits of Job Trainer funding. If individuals are under the age of 25, or currently unemployed, they can choose from a number of courses, each targeted to address skill shortages in specific areas.

Cire Training offers a range of Job Trainer opportunities for locals looking to upskill to gain employment.

[1] https://business.vic.gov.au/business-information/tourism-industry-resources/tourism-industry-information/value-of-victorias-tourism-industry

[2] https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/sitecollectiondocuments/economic-impacts-covid-19-summary.pdf

Giving students a better chance to be their best

With a determination to support young people needing a positive alternative to mainstream education, Tom Witenden has found a perfect fit as principal of Cire Community School Berwick.

He says the opening of Cire’s coeducational secondary campus at Berwick at the start of 2021 is particularly exciting because it provides access to the only specialist school of its kind in the City of Casey and the surrounding region.

With established campuses at Yarra Junction and Mount Evelyn, Cire Community School is a choice for young people who are at risk of disengaging from their schooling or have already done so. Cire is a recognised leader in the specialist education sector with its trauma-informed approach.

Tom is passionate about holistic education that has an evidence-based approach catering to the individual needs of each student and the social, emotional and behavioural aspects of their development.

“Cire Community school was a natural fit for me as it really ties in with my core values of assisting those who are most vulnerable to make positive changes. As an independent school of choice, Cire provides an educational setting that enables young people to develop the skills and self-awareness to make positive contributions to their communities,” Tom explains.

Cire enjoys a strong track record for engaging students who have previously struggled in mainstream settings due to a raft of different reasons. Some have not attended school for up to 18 months or more before enrolling at Cire. Successful outcomes include students transitioning to TAFE and further education, employment including apprenticeships and traineeships, and returning to mainstream school.

With specialist wellbeing teams and dedicated staff on each campus, each student is respected as an individual with unique needs. Each student has an individual learning plan to enable them to achieve at their own pace and in their own way.

Cire’s campuses offer a welcoming and inclusive environment to ensure students have a sense of belonging, purpose and growth, and are supported in their learning, wellbeing and life goals.

According to Tom, vulnerable students and their families find it increasingly difficult to navigate “mainstream education”. Cire provides viable options and realistic career pathways that may not have been accessible or available in the past.

“Previous generations have been let down by a lack of understanding and a lack of options, and it is the alternative educational settings that we see today that are ensuring that these same patterns are not repeated.”

Tom finds it extremely rewarding, both professionally and personally, to see young people make positive changes which in turn give them options that they may not have had if they had continued on their original trajectory.

“It is wonderful to see the difference this can make to families, and the joy, and relief, to see their child develop and grow with optimism for a positive future,” adds Tom.

“It is such a pleasure to hear from families, particularly at the end of the year, about how their children have progressed since being part of an alternative educational setting. Often there is a proclamation of disbelief that schools like this exist, why they are not more common, or how they wished they had found the school sooner.”

Originally pursuing a career in Finance, Tom soon recalibrated to requalify and find his niche in specialist education. An initial setting that catered for children with ADHD, high functioning ASD and other associated social, emotional and behavioural challenges confirmed he had made the right decision.

“The most important aspect of a career is to feel as though you are making a positive contribution, and education provides me with that opportunity.  Seeing young people develop, grow, make positive changes and then step out into society with a sense of purpose and meaning is extremely rewarding,” Tom says.

“When we talk about positive outcomes for students, nothing is more satisfying than seeing a young adult turn up early at school one morning,  after they have graduated, in a crisp, clean work uniform, smiling from ear to ear, so proud that they are ready to start their first day as a new apprentice, chef, or whatever it may be. Thinking back to where these students have come from, it is the reason teachers do what they do.”

Cire’s new Berwick campus benefits from the supporting infrastructure and networks of Cire Services Inc., one of the largest not-for-profits in the Yarra Ranges and unique to the region.

In addition to the Community School, Cire’s core operations are Children’s Services which includes long daycare and integrated and other family support services, Community Hubs, and Training; an award-winning Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

Another article worth reading about our Berwick campus – Cire Community School Expands to Berwick

Click here to find out more about Cire Community School.

Anzac biscuit cook up for Rotary

Cire Community School students have responded to a call out from Wandin Rotary for Anzac biscuits for the club’s community Anzac Day Service.

They eagerly bunkered down in the school’s Hospitality Training Centre at Yarra Junction to bake dozens of Anzac biscuits to serve up at morning tea, following the club’s Anzac Day Service at Wandin.

The students were delighted to support the club which has been hosting the community remembrance for about 20 years. Not only did some of them taste test Anzac biscuits for the first time but the initiative also sparked their interest in Anzac Day and its significance and to share their own family’s connections.

The cook up ticked some additional boxes for students studying for their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), satisfying one of the learning outcomes required for their course. One of the VCAL strands is Professional Development Skills (PDS) which aims to develop student knowledge, skills and attributes that lead to self-development and community engagement through family, social, community and environmental responsibilities; resilience, self-esteem and efficacy; and health and wellbeing. This partly involves responding to a need in the community. Their Anzac biscuits were of huge benefit to Wandin Rotary who hosted the morning tea assisted by Wandin CWA and much enjoyed by those who attended, as well as being rewarding for the students.

Cire Community School

(pictured above from left to right; Cire Community School Students Rd, Callum, Tiarna and Bella)

VCAL students commented:

  • It makes me feel great to help out on Anzac Day because my Great Grandmother was a nurse in WW2. I feel like I’m giving something back. It is so great to have our new kitchen (completed in 2020), with the new equipment we have we can improve our skills and do events like this for the community quickly.. Bella (pictured)
  • These opportunities make me feel good knowing that I’m helping in the community. We only come to this campus once a week specifically for this subject, we love the amount of new foods we can explore in this fantastic new space. Tiarna (pictured)
  • My Great Pop was in WW2. By helping bake Anzac biscuits and supporting Wandin Rotary and it being Anzac Day gives me a sense of pride. Ella

One of the baking sessions was timely for a Middle Years mixed class of Years 7 to 9 students. It provided a real life context to a Maths class earlier in the day as they had to work out how many times they had to multiply the recipe to bake the required number of biscuits, as well as work out ingredient quantities.

“The biscuits taste different but still yummy, said Callum (pictured) who was in charge of weighing the butter.

“They taste great. I hope they (Anzac Day attendees) like them,” added classmate “RD” (pictured)

While the history of Anzac biscuits varies, the following is one of the more popular accounts.

During World War I the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of food being supplied to the troops.

Food was transported across the sea at a maximum speed of ten knots, or 18.5 kph, by ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these ships did not contain refrigerated facilities, so food had to remain edible for at least two months. That is when the Anzac biscuit was “invented”, based on the Scottish recipe using rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. The ingredients did not readily spoil and were easily maintained. Some soldiers also used crushed biscuits to make porridge.

The biscuits initially were called ”soldiers biscuits” but were dubbed Anzac biscuits after the landing on Gallipoli in 1915.

As the war continued, many groups like the Country Women’s Association, churches, schools and other women’s committees made Anzac biscuits to send to the troops.

Cire Services Inc. is one of the first organisational members of Wandin Rotary Club.

Cire Community School expands to Berwick

Cire Services Inc is excited to announce the opening of a third Community School secondary campus at Berwick at the start of the 2021 school year.

Following an 18-month process, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has given Cire the green light to offer years 7 to 12 to local young people who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from their education.

The approval is testimony to the reputation Cire has earned and enjoys as a ‘school of choice’ for students who need a positive alternative to mainstream education, as well as realistic employment pathways.

Based on the Berry St Education Model and trauma-informed approach, Cire Community School is one of only a few special assistance schools registered for years 7 – 12 students.

The school has well-established campuses at Yarra Junction and Mount Evelyn where total enrolments across the campuses have grown 86% since 2015 to more than 200 enrolments. Earlier this year, the Yarra Junction campus received VRQA approval to offer years 5 and 6 for the first time at the commencement of 2021.

The expansion to Berwick, aligns with Cire’s Strategic Plan to source opportunities, mainly focusing on areas of need and growth that complement existing campuses in the Yarra Ranges.

“Berwick is such an amazing opportunity to extend what we deliver, and do well, in the Yarra Ranges and adjacent areas,” said Cire CEO Gus Seremetis.

“Cire Community School has become one of choice, offering alternative education for young people who struggle in mainstream education for all kinds of reasons. We are not competing with other schools; we simply offer a positive alternative with many successful outcomes.”

Cire enjoys a strong reputation and track record for engaging students who have previously struggled; some have not attended school for up to 18 months or more. Successful outcomes include students transitioning to TAFE and further education, employment including apprenticeships and traineeships, and returning to mainstream school.

Cire Community School’s Executive Principal, Paul van Breugel said – “He is proud that Cire’s model and expertise in specialist education can be extended to the City of Casey and adjacent areas where schools have identified the need for such alternative education.”

“Local young people who need this type of education will have access to better opportunities to learn and grow and become successful adults,” Paul said.

Cire Community School’s success is underpinned by specialist wellbeing teams and dedicated staff on each campus where each student is respected as an individual with unique needs.

“Our flexible and innovative approach is reflected in individual learning plans for each student, enabling them to achieve at their own pace and in their own way,” Paul explained.

Cire Community School campuses offer a welcoming environment to ensure students have a sense of belonging, purpose and growth, and are supported in their learning, wellbeing and life goals.

The Berwick campus will offer middle years (years 7 to 9) and a VCAL program (years 10 to 12) with the first intake of students beginning at the start of the 2021 school year.

Already with strong enrolments, the Berwick Campus has the capacity for 90 students and the potential for further growth.

Click here for further information on Cire Community School.

Beauty class supports homeless

Cire Community School’s beauty class has thrown its talents behind community organisation Stable One Yarra Ranges to help the homeless.

Beauty class supports homeless The class is also appealing to others to support its Stable One campaign through initiatives such as its GoFundMe page, and contributing new clothing and essential items.

Supporting Stable One came about due to COVID-19 restrictions when the class could no longer visit aged care facilities to provide manicures to the elderly who are at high risk as a result of the pandemic.

Lead teacher Megan Small said the class has truly stepped up and personally grown from the challenge, setting up the fundraising initiatives, and asking for donations of essential items and also canvassing businesses.

 “I have gorgeous outgoing women here that are ready to make a difference,” said Megan.

One student Karina said: “It feels good to know that we are all helping, especially for those in need in the Yarra Valley.”

The class has explained its initiative in the following article:

Our beauty class has selected a few ways to help raise money such as our GoFundMe page, and donations box in the front office at both Yarra Junction and Mt Evelyn campuses.

Beauty class supports homeless We are also encouraging essential item donations such as food, clothes, toiletries and miscellaneous items. All items donated will be given to those in need and any money raised will be used to fund larger items such as mountain bikes, games and puzzles.

Please don’t donate second-hand items because it is our mission to provide the homeless with the joy and experience of something as simple as taking the tags off their new possessions.

We have made it our priority to ensure all our proceeds go directly to Stable One and the people in need. This is a cause close to our hearts and those in the community; so your support and generosity in this time of need would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! – Cire Community School Beauty class

Hayley and Kailea set up the GoFundMe page, which has so far raised almost $400.

“It’s exciting when you check it and see the money has gone up. It’s nice to see,” Kailea said.

The young women said they were stirred into action after the class sat down together to learn about the Stable One success story of James, a man who had been living in his car in Chirnside Park.

“It gave us motivation because he’s a local to our area. Everyone goes to Chirnside Park, so we wanted to help give so that less people are in that situation,” Kailea said.

Stable One Yarra Ranges is a charity made up of several local churches, who assist the homeless community in the area with temporary supported accommodation. Over the past three years, they have supported more than 90 people in need.

Stable One founder Jenny Willetts said: “It’s not just about providing a roof. It’s about connecting people to the help they need, which will allow them to take steps forward.

“We’re all really learning about isolation at the moment when people who are homeless have always been feeling isolated.”

For more information about Stable One, visit their website. To contribute to Cire’s GoFundMe, click here.