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Ready, Steady, Participate!

On 25th of August, students from Cire Community School went to Duncan McKinnon Reserve in Murrumbeena to compete in an interschool athletics day. This was the first opportunity that our students have had to compete with other schools in an athletics carnival.

The day was organised by the Berry Street School, with four schools invited to participate. There were representatives from Caulfield Park, the Berry Street School and St. Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre which all cater for students with similar backgrounds to our own students.

“It was nice to see all the schools getting together.”Tess

On the day, the township of Mt Evelyn experienced torrential rain and hail storms but luckily the sun was shining in Murrumbeena and all the events were able to run on time.

The day got off to a great start when senior students Matt Geale took gold and Jarryd Furneaux took bronze in the long jump. Matt won the event easily by jumping 35cm further than his nearest opponent.

Another outstanding moment for Matt Geale was when he volunteered at the last minute to run in the 100m sprint and finished third in the final to score bronze.

Foundation student Marie Hoffman won 6 ribbons over the course of the day, including 2nd in both the 200m and 400m girls running events. Another ribbon she won was gold in the 3-legged race along with team partner Jesse Wenzel. This event had been dominated by Cire students Jacinta Lammertse and Jess Brown in the heats; however Marie and Jesse took first place in the final.

Other highlights of the day included our girls relay team finishing second, the boys finishing third and the awesome performances by the girls in the jumping and throwing events.

“The students all had a great time competing.Mark Hunt

The biggest highlight of the day by far was that every student put their hand up to participate in multiple events and united to support each other. Not only that, but all of the students made a concerted effort to get along with and encourage the students from the other schools and ensured they shook hands after each event.

In what proved to be an extraordinary day filled with outstanding performances, it was our student’s determination, sportsmanship, respect and camaraderie that stood out most.” Mark Hunt

“It was nice to interact with students from other schools” Zoe M

Overall, Cire Community School finished a close third out of the schools on the day. Our students and teachers look forward to next year and thank all of the students that participated in this event and made it such a great day. Cire Community School would like to thank the Berry Street School for organising this event and the invitation to attend.

“It was an awesome day” Jarryd

For further information regarding regarding Cire youth educational services click here.

 

VCAL Students do great things

This year our VCAL students have been doing some really great things so we thought it is time to share the stories with the community


VCAL Biggest Morning Tea Biggest Morning Tea – Alice in Wonderland inspired Tea Party
Students at Cire Community School, Mount Evelyn campus, recently hosted a Biggest Morning Tea, Alice in Wonderland style to raise money in support of the Cancer Council. The event was held by the Personal Development Skills (PDS) cooking class. The PDS cooking group has students ranging from foundation through to senior VCAL level. The students have a great rapport with each other, working as a cohesive team and supporting each other’s work.

The Biggest Morning Tea project was undertaken to meet the requirements for the semester to create, organise and run an event. Over the semester, students in the group had weekly practical sessions making sweet and savoury finger foods in readiness for the event. They worked tirelessly to perfect their recipes in preparation for the event.

Food served on the day included lemon meringue pies, anzac biscuits, chocolate brownies, lemon slice, scones with jam and cream, flourless orange cakes, rocky road, fairy cupcakes, jam drops, chocolate balls, mini quiches, savoury sandwich fingers and sausage rolls.

There was fabulous encouragement shown to the students of the group with not only Mount Evelyn students attending, but students from the Yarra Junction campus joining with their peers, as well as families of the students participating in the event. The generosity of the students in supporting their peers was in itself a wonderful gesture. One student alone donated $30.00. Cire staff, past and present, joined in the event. Staff at head office didn’t miss out either, meetings had been planned for that day that could not be avoided, so the cooking group arranged for food to be delivered to Yarra Junction, which was met with great appreciation.

Money raised from the Biggest Morning Tea totalled over $400.00, well done everyone.

“I have absolute admiration for the students in the way they conducted themselves throughout this project. From the start of their cooking project through to the end, which was an absolute high, they showed focus and dedication. I am very proud of the efforts shown by Cire Community School students.”
Ian Seppings – Teacher/Leading Support Officer


Breakfast Club at Yarra Junction

The Australian Red Cross states that breakfast means ‘break the fast’, as the previous meal is typically 8–10 hours before waking up in the morning. Breakfast is important in re-fuelling the body with energy and nutrients, kick-starting the day. If breakfast is skipped, the result can leave a person feeling lethargic and tired and lead to difficulty concentration and behaviour difficulties in the school environment.

Students who have eaten breakfast can concentrate better and have a longer attention span, helping them to learn and study better. They can also perform better physically after eating breakfast as there is more energy available to their muscles. Breakfast can improve behaviour and mood, as children have better concentration and aren’t tired or hungry.

The benefits of the school breakfast program (for students who have not had breakfast at home) are:

  • Providing essential nutrition for our adolescents
  • Better health and learning outcomes
  • Socialisation
  • Increase participation and engagement at school

The breakfast club started in February 2016 and has taken off with most students helping themselves to breakfast, cleaning up their own dishes and getting to class on time.

Each Monday students are treated to freshly made pikelets. Traditional toppings of lemon and sugar or maple syrup are sampled. The other days of the week students are able to help themselves to cereal, toast, tea, coffee or fresh fruit.

“Its fantastic” – Zabian

“Convenient and a bright way to start the day” – Lochie

A big thank you to all involved in this beneficial initiative.


A visit to Coldstream Animal Aid (CAA)
Cire Animal Studies Project class from Mt. Evelyn campus went on an excursion to CAA last semester; to learn about how animal welfare in our community as a class can assist them.

The day was jam packed with valuable information on all the great things the CAA do for our four legged friends. Their main aim is to care and provide safety for animals that can no longer live at their homes or because their owners cannot provide for them anymore. Animal Aid runs an adoption program and arranges microchipping, registration and inoculations.

Money is raised from donations and government support, as well as from adoption fees, animal boarding and grooming. It is staffed by volunteers with a few permanent workers; and caters mostly for domestic animals such as cats and dogs, but also caters for small livestock such as goats and small pets like rabbits and occasionally ferrets. Volunteers work in the boarding, grooming, vet clinic, cattery and kennels, promotional events, opportunity shops and on grounds maintenance.

On the tour they saw kittens, cats, dogs, rabbits and goats. The students couldn’t help themselves from getting attached to some of the animals and wanted to take them home. The animals are really well cared for and have plenty of room, stimulation and a happy environment while they wait to be adopted.

Some great initiatives came out of the visit to help them with some of the materials needed for the animals such as toys and bedding. There is a great demand for bedding as the centre goes through quite a lot. The students are discussing collecting bedding for them (blankets, rugs, etc ), as well as making hammocks for the cattery (from second hand baby blankets).

Next term the students are hoping to spend more time with the animals, as they were told about a reading program that a school did with the dogs. Being in the shelter can be stressful for many of the dogs and they had kids come and read to them. It settles the dogs to have someone sitting close and being able to hear the soothing sound of a human voice. They came away with a lot of ideas about how to assist the shelter and build it into the project through next term.

Thanks to the team at the Coldstream Animal Aid for an informative visit that has inspired us to help out.


A trip to Yellingbo to learn about conservation

Helmeted HoneyeaterThe Animal Studies Project class at the Mt. Evelyn campus  have been a busy bunch. They went on a school excursion to the Yellingbo Conservation Reserve, which protects the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater, Victoria’s bird emblem. This species is endemic to the area and is only found in Victoria. The students have been learning about this endangered species from the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater and as a class they felt the need to contribute to their conservation efforts. First step was to go to the reserve to help revegetate new areas which can be used in the conservation program.

“The reserve was roughly a half an hour drive away from campus. The roads where mainly rural and narrow; twisting, turning, hilly roads that seemed to roll on forever, with either farms or bushland on either side. On the drive there you had the sensation of being far away from civilisation however your are only 25 minutes from Lilydale.”

Arriving at a large converted cattle shed on the reserve, hidden away in the trees. The students were greeted by a friendly bloke by the name of James Fraser who holds the position of Environmental Coordinator. James gave the class a quick tour of the grounds and facilities. The students were briefed about the animals and plants at the Conservation Reserve. After sitting through a quick OHS meeting the class walked down to a small clearing in a swampy area, which only had grasses growing and there they were informed of the task ahead – revegetation. The students willingly grabbed some tools to dig holes and plants to begin the planting.

The students planted 165 trees and shrubs that will grow to provide a suitable understorey habitat for the rare honeyeater birds.

After all the tree planting and pleasantries, the class was taken on a nature walk where they spotted the endangered yellow helmeted honeyeater bird. It was perched on a low hanging branch, only metres away. James told us the bird was a scout bird which had flown down to see whether or not there was a threat to the colony.

On the way back to campus the students stopped at the Yellingbo Reserve nursery, which is connected to the conservation site. There they saw all the plants being potted; the same plants that they planted earlier that day. Profits made from the nursery provide some of the funding for the conservation work.

A big thank you to the Yelling Conservation Reserve and James Fraser for hosting this important visit.


For further details on Cire Community School VCAL programs and educational services click here or call 1300 835 235

From Cire to Deakin – Corey’s Journey

On Monday 21st of June, one of the students from Cire Community School was presented with the award for Most Outstanding Senior VCAL Student in 2015 at a ceremony at Federation Square.  The award was presented to Corey Everitt by the Hon. James Merlino (above image) in front of a big crowd including staff from Cire Community School and Corey’s parents.  Corey said of his time at Cire that

“it was probably the most significant period in my life thus far. Both for its hardship and reward.”

Corey began his journey at Cire Community School in 2014 after being disengaged from education for more than 12 months before beginning his VCAL studies. He engaged well with his teachers while completing his Intermediate VCAL but had a lot of ups and downs as he battled through some personal issues.   Benefitting from the supportive environment at school where staff and students showed patience in trying to engage him into the program.  Corey recently reflected that

“It’s a common to look down on the VCAL program, mainly for its attraction of people who have yet to engage in their studies or apply themselves. However what some don’t see is that the program gives freedom for active students to prosper and succeed and also an alternative for the few who just need a helping hand for where they want to go.”

Commencing Senior VCAL in 2015 Corey began the year very slowly and was not a very productive member of the class, but the students and staff at Cire Community School continued to support him.  At the beginning of term 2, Corey decided to participate in an activity day called “Super Awesome Fun Day” where students worked in small groups to complete challenges.  After that day, Corey slowly built his confidence in social interactions and began producing some written work.

The change over the course of term 2 was dramatic. He became a highly engaged member of the classroom and worked well with others on a couple of community projects.  He led a photography project where students worked with residents at an aged care home to create a documentary about their lives.  Corey also helped lead a landscaping project where students mowed lawns and did basic landscaping for elderly and disabled members of the local community.

By the start of term 3, Corey was a leading member of the Senior VCAL class.  He expressed an interest in pursuing a career in writing.  Corey’s teacher challenged him to write well beyond the required standard to meet his Senior VCAL outcomes.  We also began the process of looking into university pathways.  Corey wrote extended pieces on mental health, climate change, euthanasia, the character strength of grit and wrote an excellent short story about artificial intelligence. He conducted presentations to the class on topics such as his future career goals with the aim to help fellow class mates.

Corey’s transformation from being disengaged to becoming a hard working and high achieving student was a pleasure to be a part of.  The extent of his achievement was confirmed at the Cire Christmas party where Corey presented in front of over 50 staff and shared his story.  It was a great moment to witness his mother’s pride at seeing him give such a passionate speech to this group and receive such a positive reaction from the audience.

Corey is currently studying a Diploma in Media and Communication at Deakin University.  He hopes to continue studying at Deakin and begin his Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) in 2017.  Corey has made an excellent start to his higher education with good grades across the board.

“The transformation I went through from an absent and reclusive kid to an inspired student who avidly applied himself to school and the community, was a pretty substantial change, unbeknown to me it was supposedly significant enough for a group of judges to think I deserve such an award. Must have been a slow year in student achievements.”

Despite his humility, Corey’s character development and determination to improve himself make him a well deserving recipient of this award.  Corey has developed the confidence and resilience required to set himself up for success at university and life.

From all of us at Cire Services we would like to congratulate Corey on this incredible achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

For further details on Cire Community School VCAL programs click here.

A splash of colour for Cire Services

Cire Community School Personal Development Skills Art group (PDS) has worked diligently this semester to beautify the back of the Community House (now Cire Services). The project was based on the topic ‘Change’ and the students researched how they could depict (through art) the community changing over time. The PDS Art class worked in teams; problem solved and had lots of fun to achieve these excellent results!

The seats were painted to display the aboriginal heritage of the area. The designs near to and on the BBQ represent an ‘old world’ theme and the board on the wall depicted a present or modern theme. The floor was also painted to represent the mechanics of change – moving and pushing through time.

The art students decided to use spray paints on the back board to represent the modern idea of street art. There was debate around the social issue of graffiti in our class and a question about the community liking graffiti or street art and the difference between the two. Students wrote a survey and found that people in the community didn’t mind street art as long as it wasn’t vandalism or tagging such as graffiti. The students went further and even wrote a letter to the local council to get a graffiti wall for people to express their street art styles. The local council will be visiting us next semester to discuss this matter and the students would like to change their perceptions and promote street art as a new and modern art form.

Overall the courtyard of Cire Services looks amazing, bright and vibrant. Making a positive change to the once dull and boring walls, seats and BBQ area. A fantastic job done by the PDS Art group at Cire Community School!

“Our class worked really hard to reach our goals and I think we all did a great job.” Steffany  – VCAL Student

“The project went really well. We all pulled together and the finished outcome was great.” Zoe  – VCAL Student

“I enjoyed spraying the street art wall.” Robert – VCAL Student

“It was fun! I like letting my imagination run wild.” Crystal – VCAL Student

“Its Wicked” in regards to the students project. Robert (Student of Art group)

Cire Community School offers a full range of educational services for local young people that require an alternative to mainstream schooling. For further information click here or call 1300 835 235

Community programs – getting students involved

Community programs are an important part of our Yarra Valley Community School’s (YVCS) curriculum. Students gain transferable skills that can help them in the future and also play a part of giving back to the community they live in. Last year the Senior and Intermediate students from YVCS polished up their entrepreneurial skills by creating and running several social enterprise projects. The students developed their own small businesses which they ran in the local community. Money was raised which was then donated to causes that they felt could use their support. These social enterprises included:

School canteen
Car wash ‘Oh my gosh it’s a car wash’
Making and selling beauty products
Growing garden seedlings for selling
Teaching basic computer skills to grade 6 Steiner School students
Providing a landscaping service that included mowing and gardening for elderly and disabled members of the community
Native animals mentoring project – students helped build boxes for the animals with boys from the Mt Evelyn Primary school

These businesses proved to be a great success with funds being raised to help orphans in Bali and a donation to Anchor to support young people dealing with homelessness. They also used some of the funds to pay for their own year 12 graduation dinner.

On Monday 22nd of February they had a visit from Heidi Tucker (CEO) and Lisa Stockheim from Anchor. The students were presented with a certificate of appreciation and a thank you letter for our donation. Lisa had a great discussion with the students about the causes of homelessness and the services that Anchor provides. They also asked how the students would like the money spent. By engaging with the students and having them take part in the decision making it was decided that the money would be spent on food. The students felt that food was the best choice as it would benefit the most number of people. Several of the students were quite disappointed that the funding around homelessness is so inadequate and said they wanted to help more in the future.

“What an inspiration these students are, most coming from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves and their main goal is to help others – we are very grateful for being a part of the 2015 program and look forward to 2016, keep up the great work” Heidi Tucker – CEO Anchor

“The students felt great about being able to help people in need and gained a lot of skills that they can add to their resumes and help them get employment.” Mark Hunt – YVCS Coordinator

“This is totally awesome being able to donate to these great causes.” Sean – VCAL student  (in image above)
The experiences gained through these community programs have helped the students prepare the projects for 2016. Due to the success of last year’s social enterprises some of the same projects will make a return along with some new ideas.

The Social Enterprise Project is supported by the Victorian Government.

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This isn’t the first time the students have raised money for people in need, check out what they did to raise funds for a Kenya orphanage last year.
YVCS Students making a difference
YVCS Students making a difference part 2

If you would like to know more about our youth education programs click here.