Beyond talk and into action
Looking back at Congress 2016, Morgaine Delahoy from Casterton Secondary College tracks the highs and highs of her student voice journey.
On the 5th of July, Jess and I travelled down to Melbourne to go to the VicSRC (Victorian Student Representative Council) Congress session, which started on the 6th.
For three days at Ormond College in Melbourne, we met students who were eager to share their voice and promote their ideas and experiences with the rest of the Victorian SRCs. Together we formed issues groups where we all looked at the problems in our schools right down to the very last detail, where we then worked together to create solutions. Working as a team, the delegates pushed themselves beyond their limits to try and make our schools better places for everyone and to try and make our high school education worthwhile.
There were around 180 students in total from over 60 schools from every corner of the state sitting in one room at the start of Congress, and we all worked together to solve the issues that damage our education the most.
Each delegate had their own stories from their schools and their own issues and ideas on how we make our schools a happier place for everyone.
On the first day we all split up into our issues groups – Jess and I both landed in the Classroom Management group! We made friends with everyone in our group – and we hope to stay in touch with them for many years to come – and together we formed a little family working together to solve the issues surrounding how our classrooms are managed. We identified that the main issues are that the negative atmospheres of classrooms led to students and teachers alike are not being treated as equals or with respect, and the individual learning styles of the students are not being well catered to. So we banded together to create solutions that we hoped would extend to a state level when brought in front of everyone.
The first night we had the annual Gala dinner – this year the theme was a Masquerade Ball, and everyone took up the challenge to dress to the nines and create the best masks they could. I even won best dressed on the night, and everyone was so wonderful when they voted for me!
Over the three days we all participated in workshops such as boot camp where Jess and a lot of other people had lots of fun every morning, craftism workshops where we all made posters and things that would promote our issues groups, and even a songwriting workshop where I joined a group of talented young musicians that wrote a song that expressed our voices at Congress.
We also worked hard for hours on end working on our Resolution Action Pitch proposals (or RAPs) for the first ever Congress Open Morning! On the third and final day of Congress we all gathered together at the Grand Buffet Hall at the University of Melbourne to share our RAPs at the official Congress Session, which was streamed live on Facebook!
For the first time, our voices were heard by over 300 students, teachers and education stakeholders that came to participate in the Lightning Lobby, where every delegate gave presentations on their issues and why they matter through posters and a brightly-decorated desk that showcased our issues and solutions.
Every student that came to the 2016 VicSRC Congress were dedicated individuals fighting for one purpose – to get each and every student voice heard in schools, and for those in higher positions to listen to our voices.
Congress was and is about students transforming education. Not only do we students deserve a say in what happens to our education, we need a say. All the delegates that attended Congress, including Jess and I, took up the challenge to work together to help change the way our education is governed and run. We went beyond just talk and fantasy, we went into action. And we are so grateful that our voices were listened to this year, and we aim to keep being heard in many years to come.
Going to Congress was the best time of my life and I met so many awesome people – there’s no way I’m not going back next year. I hope to see more students from Casterton Secondary and surrounding high schools attending next year!
Here’s to student voices in many years to come!
-Morgaine Delahoy, Casterton Secondary College
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