Month: October 2014

Sharing the Experience

Our students have spoken at staff PD , whole school assembly and governing council about their experiences with Projects Abroad in Cambodia . Their heartfelt stories of their time in Cambodia have been inspirational . They speak about the growth they experienced and their sense of gratitude.
” When we went to placement at the start of each day, everyone was always really cheerful and we couldn’t help but to wave as we drove in. Every day that we went there they would be waiting with flower crowns and little bouquets they made by themselves; some even made bracelets out of leaves too. They were amazing kids, and the teachers there were really helpful as well. They were so cheerful and adorable and every single one of them had such a beautiful personality. They were never sad, even when they get pushed and shoved they’d always have the biggest smiles on their faces. They may not be rich in money but they definitely are in kindness and love.
I, along with everyone else are exceedingly proud of everyone who took this step and actually committed to it. I am very glad that I decided to do this. It has helped my confidence; as well as inspired me in many ways. I am very grateful that I could share this memory with such amazing teachers and students they are all so kind and will help with anything.”

Cortney Ellingham

Everyday when our two buses left the school the kids would line up along the path and throw flowers and shout ‘goodbye teacher!’ It was like we were leaving forever. On the last day when we were officially leaving the emotions that filled the air as the students realised we were leaving for good, words just can’t describe.
We found out that the directors son who we nicknamed ‘zero’ because he didn’t speak was actually going to be using the kindergarten that we had built! This melted our hearts!
I am forever changed from this experience, it has made me a better person and made me only want to give selflessly more in the future.

Cara Rodgers

Some new pics from Projects Abroad in Cambodia



















































This experience will live with us for a lifetime, we have all gained the sense of wellbeing that comes from giving selflessly and enhancing the community .








Was an honour to share this experience with these amazing people.


“Girls Art Hang Out”

This year, we have been extremely lucky to work in partnership with Mission Australia to support young women at Wirreanda Secondary School.
Art Hang Out is a program which combines creative expression of Art making with the opportunity to connect and link to counselling or other supports as needed, within a therapeutic environment.

This program is designed to support girls in year 8 and 9 , in a safe creative environment during two lunch times a week. It is run by two qualified Youth Workers from Mission Australia Southern Outreach Team (SORT), led by Peta Black, pictured below.
Students have participated voluntarily in this program. Numbers have varied from a minimum of five to 12 participants per week.
The SORT team have begun working with year seven girls in our feeder primary schools. This will provide a smooth transition to those students, and the opportunity for these future year eight girls to participate in the ‘Art Hang Out’ next year.

Students this year have expressed:
“It is a quiet area to sit and talk with friends while being creative”
“I would love this to continue when I am in year 10”
“I have met other students who I would not have spoken to normally”



For any further information on the ‘Art Hang Out’ program, please contact the school.

Kadri Auvaart
Counsellor/ Community Connections

Southern Schools Student Leadership Summit


Where: Wirreanda Secondary School
When: Friday 17/10/14 (all day)
Keynote speakers: Katrine Hildyard, MP & Jayne Johnston (CEO – DECD)
Who: DECD schools from across the Southern region have been invited. The following schools are attending the event:
– Wirreanda Secondary School
– Willunga HS
– Unley HS
– Aberfoyle Park HS
– Seaview HS
– Aust. Science & Maths School (ASMS)
– Hamilton SS
– Brighton SS
– Reynella East College
– Mount Barker HS
– Victor Harbour HS
– Hallet Cove R-12
– Seaford Secondary College

The Summit will give us an opportunity to share and discuss our personal leadership skills. We will have the chance to be addressed by distinguished guests, including keynote speakers: Jayne Johnston (Chief Education Officer, DECD) and Katrine Hildyard (ALP, Member for Reynell). The Summit was initiated by our school captains and vice-captains who, after attending a similar event, decided that they wanted to create an event for young people in the South to give them the opportunity to develop as leaders in their communities. (Captains: Addison Rodgers, Melissa Hirschausen, Vice-captains: Cara Rodgers & Benny Dragovelic)


The purpose of the Summit is to bring student leaders together from secondary schools in the Southern region to share ideas on leadership, listen to keynote speakers and participate in planning for future initiatives. Keynote Speakers for the Summit will be Ms Katrine Hildyard, Member for Reynell, and Ms Jayne Johnston, Chief Education Officer for DECD.

The aim of the Leadership Summit is to enhance and accelerate the development of your own personal leadership. We will focus on five key areas:

1. Actively leading.

2. Increased self-awareness as a leader.

3. Strategies to foster positive & transparent relationships with others.

4. Methods for critical decision-making.

5. A heightened awareness of a ‘moral compass’, as well as the leadership opportunity that lies ahead.


The day will incorporate:

· student facilitated workshops

· keynote speakers from our local community, including interactive Q&A sessions

· activities which promote positive relationships






Anti-Poverty Week

Welcome Back !

Week One , Term 4 is Anti-Poverty week :
Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians.

Around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor.

In Anti-Poverty Week, YOU can help fight poverty and hardship!

The main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to:

– Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and

– Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

Members of Projects Abroad addressed year 8 and 9 assemblies this week to highlight their observations of poverty first hand and will address the whole school in an assembly in the coming weeks.

To raise awareness there we hosted a bake sale on Thursday in the learning hub while images of our Projects Abroad expedition were displayed.




Cambodia – we all miss you

Our Projects Abroad group have all been chatting , sharing pictures and memories over social media upon our return. The pride is overwhelming, we are all forever changed, as Westy said today ” heard 99 problems but poverty ain’t one of them ” , perspective is an amazing thing .






















Thank you to all who supported us in so many ways, your contribution made a huge difference to the life of Cambodian children but also to the lives of all who took part in this expedition .
We dedicated the kindergarten in memory to those who made us all want to be better people, who gave something extraordinary to our lives. Life is full of hurdles and obstacles, how we chose to overcome these define us and give us purpose.


Projects Abroad – the final days

A very emotional day as we completed our placement , what started as a pile of rocks ended as a kindergarten, an experience that will live with us a lifetime , many tears shed today as we said goodbye and when Mr Prosh , the children’s centre director thanked us , we told him it was us who was thankful , more than we can say . I will allow our images to convey our sentiment, as words simply cannot express the magnitude of this experience . But we leave Cambodia in a few days knowing ideas and dreams with hard work can become a reality .

Take a look at this video on YouTube:


Last day – memories forever.

We have had a wonderful week in Siem Reap, filled with work at the placement. The groups have been working hard and have shown dedication beyond belief. What we are achieving inspires each and everyone of us daily and as we finish the sadness is setting in that we only have one more day with this wonderful community.

The construction group has been working hard this week. They have spent time in the vegetable patch which smells disgusting but the volunteers power through because they know how it will benefit this community. The kindy room is in its final stages, this week students have moved bricks, mixed cement (with a shovel and human power) moved 50kg bags, shovelled sand, painted, drawn, laid bricks and rendered to make this special place for these amazing children. Each day we are covered in mud and dripping with sweat but the group gets going and never gives up. I would like to especially thank Jamie for his wonderful design, the building looks amazing and is meaningful to the NHC school and ours.

Yesterday saw a group of students and staff make soccer goals for the school. It’s amazing to think how we have adapted to the tools and resources. The group used hammocks bought from the markets to make the nets and used a knife and bamboo to make the posts. Even some of the children joined in to help strip the bamboo make pegs and hold the net together.

The teaching group has been working on many different subjects and lessons. They have delivered basic lessons on how to brush their teeth (every student in the school has received a new toothbrush), wash their hands and look after their bodies, we have been teaching about Australian animals, culture and people with lots of singing while they enjoy the ‘Blinky’ the wellbeing koala books which were made by our students from Wirreanda. The soccer and athletics programs have been a hit, so much so we have to make sure students are going back to their classes and not trying to stay outside with other groups. We have had art lessons which blow us all away, the Cambodian students have some incredible talent which I am definitely envious of.

I thought this blog I would update you on the progress of all our amazing, inspiring and hard working volunteers.

Teresa has been the amazing ‘Mumma B’ looking after all our students and advocating for them, their journey and their experiences. She never stops and is always making sure that we achieve the most possible, her positive ideas and energy have inspired the group and we are proud for her to be here leading us.

Jamie has been an amazing leader and support. He is not afraid to get stuck in and get jobs done! When people have been sick he has done triple shifts to make sure that the school receives a quality program. Our students look up to him and love sharing this experience with him.

Jarod has been our photographic specialist! He is in every angle and shot capturing this amazing experience. He is always throwing ideas around and collaborating with the group. We can’t wait to see the final movies he makes and thank him for capturing our journey.

Leanne Argent has been a huge help on our trip, she has been our nurse expert -helping, assessing and providing advice to all our volunteers. She has been a fantastic help on this trip. Her organisation prior was amazing, collecting so many resources for these children, we are proud of her hard work and dedication to this program.

Isabella the girl with flowers in her hair. Everyone in Cambodia loves Isabella, each day students are waiting to make her floral crowns and have her as a wonderful teacher. As our youngest member she shown maturity beyond her years. Her teaching is effortless and her smile when working with these children inspires us all. I won’t forget to mention although she loves the beautiful flowers she isn’t afraid of much – she is the only group member this far to venture with some interesting local cuisine, eating a tarantula for supper last night.

Beccy has been an amazing group member. She is working hard and is a star in the classroom. She is wonderfully organised and sees the true vision and purpose to make sure these children get a quality educational experience. Her work in the vegetable patch has been wonderful, getting two rows planted and turned to grow fresh vegetables for the children at their school and their families.

Cortney has shown some undeniable strength and initiative. She is always working and learning. She works so hard on construction and in the classroom shows some wonderful qualities as one of our youngest members. She is willing to do anything to help the group and community and we admire her compassion for this project.

Bailey our superstar go getter. Bailey has worked hard everyday, leading programs and teaching the children. She never stops, working to run the athletics program and teach her classes. Bailey has had an attitude we could only ever dream of, she is here to make a difference and is putting in 300%!

Amelia has been another construction guru never stopping and working hard. She is inspired by these children and works non stop to ensure every job is completed on time and to a high standard. In the classroom she has started to form relationships and enjoys working with these wonderful students. Her class shared a beautiful song with her which almost brought tears to her eyes, her compassion for these people is admirable.

Our school captain Mel has embraced her role across the globe. She has shown positivity and leadership beyond expectation, she contributes and shapes the ethos of the group. Her kind nature is exemplified with not only our group members but the Cambodian community.

Jasmine along with Beccy has been working hard to establish the garden patch. She has been running some amazing lessons which have impacted on these children’s learning and their hearts. She has a child attached to her in every break, joins in on the children’s games and genuinely has a passion to give back and help those in need.

Mitchell has been a true gentleman on this trip. He is caring and relentless with his effort and work ethic. Mitch has worked hard constructing the building, he always jumps in to any job with a positive attitude. He works hard to ensure we achieve our goals and has fun with the children, teaching and learning from them.

Eryka is working well to help and establish clear ideas for our time here. She is flexible jumping into different jobs, roles and situations with ease. Her flexibly has helped in so many ways and we are grateful for her kind and compassionate ways.

Dante has been a wonderful group member fitting in with his peers and working hard with the group. Along with Cara he has been leading the soccer program, teaching and playing with the kids. He has helped their skill development and is always being targeted for shoulder, piggy back rides and soccer matches. Dante has been a fantastic asset to this group.

Dabria has been a great group member, help, caring and contributing to the group. She is always looking out for the volunteers making sure they are well, hydrated and rested everyday. Everyone has enjoyed her company and will miss her after the trip has finished.

Claudia has been an amazing and skilled volunteer. Her background teaching knowledge has helped to develop lessons and work with different age groups on the project. She has also been a stand out construction member never stopping to make sure this project is successful and we leave an amazing mark in and on this school.

Jake has been a hard working group member since the beginning of this project. He had lead many of the fundraising events and his drive hasn’t stopped here in Cambodia. He is relentless never stopping and always working hard. He has developed beautiful relationships with the kids, they run to him and give him so much respect and love it is amazing to watch.

Cara Wirreanda’s vice captain has shown outstanding leadership during our time here. Her work to lead and deliver the soccer program has made a huge impact on the children and the community. She is always puts in and is flexible jumping in to any job or task asked of her. She embraces the true spirit of this trip!

Abbey has shown some amazing hard work and grit on this project. She does anything asked of her and has a can do attitude. We are inspired. Her hard work yesterday she never stopped, shovelling, lifting and painting she was a star showing true commitment to the program and the community.

Leanne S has been a teaching machine. She is in her element in the classroom and we don’t know if her smile or the children’s is bigger. She has been dedicated to providing a meaningful education to these children. She has been a wonderful help to our students we are grateful for her help on this amazing adventure.

Carissa is a positive and compassionate member of our group. She is having a blast working with the young class. She gets her hands in every situation helping the group and has been a gun with the paint roller.

Kaylee has proven to be a valuable volunteer, she is always active,flexible and displays a positive attitude. She supports the staff and students where ever she is needed. The children in her classes love her caring ways, this is reflected during the break time when the swarm to her for cuddles and to play fun games.

Meghan has worked relentlessly during this project. She also works non stop wanting to achieve the best outcomes possible. When she needs to she gets in, swaps and supports our students and volunteers. She is a favourite with our directors daughter and we laugh every time we hear ‘MEGHANNNNN’ shouted for the smallest girls mouth.

I don’t know how we can leave the school today. It has impacted each and everyone of us and we have formed bonds with the staff and students that can never be taken away! Yesterday the director thanked us for our hard work and told us a group has never came into the school before and made such a difference.

Please enjoy the photos of the trip below.