How far would you go for student voice?

Back in February seven students and two teachers traveled four hours to attend a Student Voice Workshop in Wodonga - here's what they learned.

In February, a small group of seven intrepid student leaders and two teachers, set off on a four hour road trip to Wodonga in pursuit of truth, justice and the Wellington Way.( our college mantra).

Actually, the attraction was the VicSRC Student Voice Conference scheduled at Wodonga Secondary on Friday 16 February.

“The trip to Wodonga was pretty interesting; we were able to see how school was like in the countryside. Students there, were interested in TAFE which is pretty different to WSC. Here we are more interested in VCE. It was also interesting to explore their school, seeing the different facilities and classrooms. Overall it was a fun experience travelling there and interacting with students there.”- Jenny Zhong

Wellington Secondary has always enjoyed attending the great VicSRC conferences facilitated by Kate Wilde and her superhero sidekick, Matty Sievers. Our students have always come away with so much to think of. The benefits of collaborating with students from other colleges is undeniable. The buzz that such networking creates, energises SRC executives (and teachers!) and inspires groups to take on new challenges. The workshops provide an opportunity to be open minded, to consider new ways of doing things and to share strategies for solving the issues that young leaders encounter in their leadership roles, as well as the fun of meeting new people and learning how to add each other to Snapchat or Facebook.

Usually, our college would attend one of the workshops that is more conveniently located to suburban Mulgrave, but we saw an opportunity to hang out with some country cousins and learn how the student leaders of Wodonga Secondary College operate. Quite boldly we invited ourselves to stay overnight at their college. Wodonga and Wellington Secondary are partner schools and we had already swapped a staff member as part of this partnership.

“The Wodonga trip was a success and great fun. Everyone was nice to us …. The school was welcoming and friendly, taking us places with amazing scenery. We’ve learnt from this experience; how to make the school better. This also boosted our social skills and our confidence in the VicSRC conference. Overall, we learnt something new and had an amazing fun experience.” Maria Khalil

Wodonga Principal, Vern Hilditch and Student Engagement Coordinator Sheri Parkhouse and their team were warm and gracious hosts. Although the gym mats were quite firm to sleep on, we had a great time sharing an evening meal and breakfast with their student leaders. Our students learnt a great deal about how their school approached similar issues and the tour of the Hume Weir before being chauffeured to the Student Voice conference was a bonus. My colleague, Malini Ravintharan and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“Having the privilege to attend the conference at Wodonga Secondary has been an eye-opening experience. Being able to tour and explore how their school operates in comparison to ours showed how schools are different. When we were given a tour, it was our first thought that their VET programs were extremely convenient and easy. They had incorporated their VET facilities quite well as it was all in their school [on campus] which is significantly different to Wellington as VCE is widely preferred. It was also interesting to see the many charities they supported, where they made and sold t-shirts and funds would go to a cause in Indonesia and how many facilities they offered. The students showed strong relationships with one another as well as the teachers. The [VicSRC] conference at Wodonga brought all leaders together to show the key skills needed to be a leader and how we can make a change to our school. We as our group came together to discuss any issues we had faced and how we can improve as a school. This was a great opportunity to really discuss issues faced at Wellington and how we should confront them. Overall the experience was amazing and I learnt a lot about what is needed to be a great leader!”- Shamayla Farook

written by Barb Wandoch
SRC Liaison Manager Wellington Secondary College

For more information about the Student Voice Workshops and to book your own learning adventure click here!

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