Month: June 2015

Raising Funds for the Wirreanda Cambodia Project

A self-nominated, dedicated group of students are all a buzz raising money to fund their expedition to travel to Cambodia mid-2016. There they will actively contribute to the building of school facilities for children in the province of Siem Reap. The student’s enthusiasm and passion is absolutely inspiring as they plough through selling chocolate box after chocolate box. They have also been actively selling tickets in this year’s People’s Choice lottery. Families are getting involved and soon the students will be rolling up their sleeves and “summoning their inner waiter or waitress” to sell sausages at Masters BBQ fundraisers.

What can you do to help?

* Bid in the silent auction…..

*The Wirreanda Cambodia Project has 2 nights’ accommodation in a 5 star hotel that includes wine and breakfast for 2 in Sydney.
Accommodation must be used by July 31 st 2015.
Anyone who would like to bid on the accommodation must do so by Wednesday 24/06/15, the highest bid will get the accommodation.
Please email with your bids or any questions you may have.
All proceeds go the 2016 Cambodia Trip.

*Donations for raffles are greatly appreciated and will add to the fun of our upcoming quiz nights and movie nights.

* Organisations that would like to donate school supplies such as sporting equipment, stationary, instrumental equipment to name a few would be fabulous.

* Support upcoming events – Father’s day Stall, movie nights, quiz nights……

* Purchase tickets in the People’s Choice Lottery – 1st prize Hyundai ix35 valued at $44,280 2nd Prize A $35,000 Harvey Norman Shopping Spree and 3rd Prize Hyundai i30 valued at $25,318

Any support would be much appreciated.

Tash Thornton and Kirk Dixon


Board Games Club brings “like minded” Friends Together

This term lunch club up in the Tute Room has come alive with friendly banter as gamers try their hands and a variety of games. Dungeons and Dragons, Zombies, Coup and Pokemon card games to name a few. The conversation, positive socialization, strategic thinking and friendship building has been enriching for all.
This positive fun environment has helped students build confidence to build connections with others. One parent has reported that her son has independently made friendships for the first time and for her as a parent this is “as exciting as him taking his first steps”.
We have board games club every Monday and Thursday lunch time in the Tute Room.
Tute room pic

“In Defence of Our Homeland ” War Memorial Project Camp

Monday – Tuesday
We departed from Wirreanda with a little late start due to, perhaps a bigger luggage load than expected, but we finally left and were excited about the upcoming journey. I don’t think students quite thought about the length of journey we were about to embark on, with over 1200kms across several states. It took a while before we heard “Are we there yet?” but students past the time belting our One Direction, Katy Perry & Taylor Swift. We stayed overnight in Balranald, and the kids practically ran off the bus and got some rest.
Today it the first day of touring Canberra with plans for Questacon, The Aboriginal Tent Embassy and The Old Parliament. The students had fun exploring all the weird and fun science puzzles and displays. Some students tried to build a tower of blocks that could withstand an earthquake that they got to experience. Other students had fun defying physics on a 6 metre drop that unbeknownst to them turned into a slide. On our way to the Old Parliament the students paid their respects at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy that has stood for several decades on the parklands around Old Parliament. Students had the opportunity to speak to an Aboriginal man helping to keep the flame burning. The Old Parliament delighted students as they explored fun and interactive digital displays such as rights and freedoms, human rights, and so forth. Students were even able to view the Magna Carta, a founding document of democracy from nearly a thousand years ago. The last event for the night after a great dinner cooked by students and Mr. Pirone was a tour of the Australian Institute of Sport before relaxing back at the hostel.

Azra Rochester

old parliament

tent embassy fire

Wellbeing essential for student learning

The Wellbeing Team has been going through a self-review process this term, looking at how our wellbeing services impact on the learning of the students at Wirreanda Secondary School.
It is clear that there are many issues in schools related to the wellbeing, welfare, health and pastoral care needs of young people and their families. It is understood that such issues impact upon student learning outcomes and in recent years the range and breadth of issues has increased.
The Wellbeing Team at Wirreanda Secondary School has directed its focus in the last two years in developing a prevention to intervention approach to the promotion of Wellbeing and in addressing issues and concerns related to young people at risk. The aim of the Wellbeing Team and the Learner Wellbeing Centre is to address ethos, create a whole school approach to wellbeing, address curriculum and partnerships to promote wellbeing.
To address disparity in achievement and overall outcomes in achievement, student wellbeing strategies focused along the prevention to intervention spectrum.
Social and emotional learning increases the engagement of subject material, greater interest in learning and motivation to learn, commitment to school and morale in students and staff, and time devoted to schoolwork. It also improves attendance in students and staff, SACE completion rates and prospects for constructive employment, while at the same time reducing suspensions, exclusions and improving retention.
Wirreanda Secondary School supports the interconnectedness of teaching and student learning outcomes, supportive environment, community and service partnerships and student and community wellbeing.
There is much importance in providing a safe and supportive environment conducive to mental health and learning. WSS recognise that school is the organisation of most relevance to young people and a sense of connectedness or belonging to school is essential to enhance student learning outcomes.
The Wellbeing Team has focused on the development of a positive school climate, organisational health, teacher professional learning in wellbeing and effective partnerships with family and community.


The Wellbeing Team delivered an informative PD session to staff on the effects of Trauma on our students and how Trauma effects students ability to engage in learning due to its effects on brain function , its relation to building relationships , memory and cognitive functioning and behaviour.
Experiences of elevated, prolonged stress or trauma rock the very core of young people. In these circumstances, children are overwhelmed with the internal reactions that race through their brains and bodies. They do anything to survive, not because they want to but because they need to. They shut down their feelings. They push away memories of pain. They stop relying on relationships around them to protect them. They stop trusting and believing in others.
Traumatised and stressed children and young people have little space left for learning. Their constant state of tension and arousal can leave them unable to concentrate, pay attention, retain and recall new information. Their behaviour is often challenging in the school environment. They struggle to make positive peer relationships.
The outcome of trauma on children and young people are multiple, yet they are not well understood. These children are often labelled as disruptive, defiant and poor learners at high risk of disconnecting from school.
With support, children and young people can, and do, recover from the harmful effects of trauma. To do so, however, they need adults in their lives to be understanding of and responsive to their unique needs. They cannot easily adapt and change to their environment. Their environment and the people in it must adjust to help them. These children and young people need the space to learn to be created for them by those who care for and support them.
The focus of the PD session was to inform staff but to also look at ways of building resilience in our young people to take positive steps in moving forward in their education and increasing their sense of school engagement and belonging . The key to supporting them at school is to use the knowledge base about the neurobiology of trauma to understand them – their behaviour and their needs. And with such understanding comes hope.
Hope is present for children when they can rely on the adults around them to be consistent, dependable and nurturing. Children begin to feel anchored in the present and trust in the future. Children with hope and confidence are adaptable in the face of challenges. With belief in themselves they begin to do better at school. They find they can more easily make and keep friends. Their relationships with their family improve. They are happier in themselves.
School itself becomes easier to navigate. Children and young people experience themselves congruently in the classroom. They have greater attentive capacity. They have access to more of their memory resources. They can take in new information and store it. They can recall it and integrate it. They develop skills. They learn and come to enjoy learning. Change becomes something to embrace. Their teachers are safe and supportive. Their potential to succeed at school has been unlocked…