Standing up for Canberra

Lanyon High School

It is a great pleasure today to talk about a terrific school initiative that I was involved in a little while back called the Giving Project. Year 9 students at Lanyon High School were asked to design a project to share with the school community as part of a learning expo. The students worked in small groups, guided by a teacher or mentor, to design a project that focused on ways to give back to the community —hence the name, the Giving Project.

At the end of September, the students presented their projects to their parents, to their carers, to their teachers, to their peers and to the broader school community at an expo-like event in their school hall. While presenting their projects, the students talked about all they had learned through the experience—the highs and the lows, the failures and successes. It was a terrific event. I really enjoyed walking around and speaking to each of the students, learning about their projects, how they could help the community and how they had benefited from taking part in this community Giving Project.

The projects were extremely diverse, from ways to clean up local parks to volunteering at primary schools or fundraising for various causes and local organisations. The students did a brilliant job. One group of young women—Alex Barnes, Jaime Paternoster and Molly Waters—raised funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis. Three young men—Oli Blunden, Alex McIntosh and Jayden Saysana—raised funds and awareness for testicular cancer. Lucy Schmidt took part in the Heart Foundation's doorknock appeal. One group of students was raising awareness about eating disorders, another group mental health. The range of issues that were covered in this expo was extraordinary. What was wonderful was that each of the students had a little table and they had decorated the tables like it was a trade expo. They had lollies out there to entice people to come and talk to them about their projects, they had little handouts for people to take away, they had representations, photos and all sorts of images of the process of the Giving Project.

I want to congratulate all of the students who were involved—Rebecca Radanovich, Alysha Wigram, Samantha Wood, Lucy Sturgeon, Zac Watson, Anton Wilding, Jess Newing, Kristina Senjic, Veronyka Zanatta, Luke Barnwell, Jordan Costa, Connor Farmer, Paul Vels, Will Ward, Justin Ford, Daniel Kennedy, Mackenize Smith, Pelagie Todd, Emily Madrid, Georgia Tongs, Shannin Gallagher, Atul Prasad, Jack Smart, Alex Coggan, Aidan Collins, Jack Monaghan, Mikayla Day, Riley Harvey, Shinae Sellars, Lachlan Bryce, Taylor Gilchrist, Josh Milczarek and Jaye Symss. It is terrific to see our young people engaging in their wider community, engaging in altruistic activity and thinking of others. The students not only got a great deal out of it but also want to continue their community involvement.

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