Clarendon students at Sebastopol Library.

Clarendon students care about their community

October 30, 2019 BY

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Ballarat Clarendon College students of all ages embrace their responsibilities to actively care for, support and engage with their local community.

Students have taken part in a range of initiatives in partnership with Ballarat Hospice, Ballarat Foundation, UnitingCare, Nazareth House, 4EK, Ballarat Reads, Very Special Kids, the Leukaemia Foundation, Cancer Council, Barbara May Foundation and so many more.

Junior school pupils collecting bottle caps that will be made into prosthetic limbs.

Their care is demonstrated through actively raising awareness, by dancing, throwing sponges, performing, speaking out, wearing colours, exhibiting their art, making environmentally sustainable choices, shaving their legs, playing football or competing in relays.

Senior students, for example, tutor at a local homework club. Taking place each week at the Ballarat Library in Sebastopol, the homework club sees Clarendon’s senior students paired with primary school-aged children to help with their schoolwork.

Students not only assist with the children’s reading and writing, but also engage in conversation and play in an effort to share their own love of learning with younger students in the wider Ballarat community.

Year 12 student, Jia Williams Murnane, has been volunteering her time for this initiative since Year 7 and says that she feels a great sense of achievement from engaging in learning with young children.

“Talking to the kids and spending time with them is fun and rewarding,” says Jia. “Many of the kids are from disadvantaged backgrounds so they haven’t necessarily had the opportunities that we get to enjoy.”

Senior students have also continued their long-term involvement with the residents of Nazareth Care.

Community Service Leader, Nadil Munasinghe, says that often the most valuable way we can give back to the local community is simply to spend time with the people in it.

“We have conversations with the Nazareth residents, play trivia with them and share jokes,” he says. “We all get a lot out of it and really value our time spent together.”

Through their time spent at Nazareth, students are able to share new experiences and gain a unique perspective on life that wouldn’t otherwise be found in the classroom.

Clarendon students’ engagement with the local community has seen them participate in a range of fundraising initiatives.

ELC-Year 8 students raised funds for UnitingCare Ballarat, an organisation that works to support disadvantaged people in our community. Junior School students organise a community fair and use their positive behaviour token to decide how to distribute money raised across a range of local charities – Very Special Kids, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative, WALA Animal Sanctuary, Ballarat Reads – The Ballarat Foundation and The Soup Bus.

Middle School students further demonstrated their care for their community when they participated in a walkathon to raise funds in support of Ballarat Hospice, as well as a dance-a-thon and bake sale to support Mr Shaune Moloney, Co-Head of the Middle School, in raising funds for The Ballarat Foundation, committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Ballarat. In addition, a staff versus students relay raised awareness for the Cancer Council.

Students and staff from the girls and boys boarding houses held a number of events over the year to raise funds and awareness for The Leukaemia Foundation, 4EK, Breast Cancer Network Australia and the Ballarat-based White Ribbon campaign.

In raising funds for The Leukaemia Foundation, the boarding houses were motivated by the story of Year 5 student, Ardithya Shaktivel, who has bravely fought leukaemia twice.

“It was a wonderful month where our boarders and the wider Clarendon community came together to support a very special cause,” says Mr Paul Stephens, Head of Boys Boarding. “All those involved displayed empathy, gratitude, respect and responsibility.”

A 2019 initiative for Clarendon is the student-run Sustainability Committee. Working with Sustainability Victoria, the team of students from Years 5-12 has been instrumental in introducing a variety of bins to maximise recycling and reuse. The Committee has collaborated with the school’s catering company to replace plastics with plant-based alternatives resulting in 60,000 fewer pieces of plastic in landfill over the semester.

Junior School students, motivated by their care for the environment, collected plastic bottle caps to support Envision Hands, a not-for-profit using 3D printing to turn waste into bespoke aids for children in need. The determination and commitment of these students to educating their community is paying tangible dividends for the environment.

Clarendon students value their connections with their community and are keenly aware of their responsibilities to contribute in any way they can. Students at Clarendon reach out, contribute to, participate in and collaborate with their community in so many ways – attending commemorative services organised by the Arch of Victory Committee, as members of the Ballarat Youth Council, as an advocate for Restart a Heart Day, as public health campaigners speaking to members of Ballarat Rotary Club, as hosts and performers at a Concert for Cambodia and so much more.

In every possible way, Ballarat Clarendon College supports and encourages students who aspire to be active, involved members of their community by not only raising funds and awareness, but also volunteering their time to support others.