Peer Support Training

Being a Peer Support Leader is an opportunity for our more experienced High School students to welcome our new Year 8s to the Wirreanda community at the beginning of the 2018 school year. On Thursday 14th November, a dynamic group of Year 9s worked closely in collaboration with Casie Coombe (Vice-Captain), Ms Bruno, Ms Parker, Kadri, and Mrs Millar. In addition, our new Peer Support group were mentored by three of our current Peer Support Leaders from 2017 – Myah, Charlotte and Hayley. The day had a strong focus on creating a safe learning space, showing respect to one another and developing skills in bringing people together.

We began our training day by getting to know one another and learning ‘Icebreaker’ activities that our students can later use to get to know our new community members next year. We collaborated to discover the traits of different leaders, and reflected upon our own leadership skills. Students discovered that many of them shared similar fears when beginning high school. After identifying our collaborative strengths as leaders, as well as areas to improve upon, we explored ways to manage our emotions. As a leader, students may find that their peers seek them out for support. Here at Wirreanda, we firmly believe that life-skills such as leadership, resolving conflict, problem solving and seeking support from the best people at the best time are essential to an individual’s success not only in school, but in the workforce and indeed, life itself.

We learned that meaningful connection to your peers, community and self can assist to motivate people to accomplish more. This was most evident in Casie’s “RU OK?” video in which she examined experiences from her own life and how she actively chose to make decisions that brought her immediate school community together. Students teaching students is a powerful mode of learning which ensures that authentic experiences and opportunities are afforded to our young leaders.

I am excited to see what this group will accomplish in 2018 and look forward to seeing them apply their exceptional leadership skills, strategies and positivity to promote and develop a supportive Wirreanda community. A huge thank you to the staff members involved for your time and commitment to developing the skills of our young people. Of course – the main credit must be given to the amazing young people who gave up their time to become active community leaders. Great effort everyone!

Our 2018 Peer Support Leaders

Olivia C, Jeremy V, Gypsy S, Aurora C, Georgia U, Sara W, Eric Z, Connor M, Morgan W, Max J, Daeshana J-P, Kimberleigh J, Mitchell S, Ben C, Tyler Walther and Danial R.

Yours in community spirit,

Ms Parker


Power to end violence against women


Today Port Adelaide Football Club visited Wirreanda Secondary School, in the lead up to our Term 4 Respectful Relationships Positive Education Day and White Ribbon Day, to deliver the Power to end violence against women program to our Year 10 male cohort.

The program targets young men in Year 10 across South Australia and aims to address the prevalence of domestic violence within our community.

Research on domestic violence has told us that by the time young people reach their teenage years most have experienced or witnessed some form of domestic abuse.

This program provided our students with the opportunity to discuss the issue of violence against women and explore respectful relationships.  In doing so, the program provided the information and skills necessary for young men to make informed choices to prevent violent behaviours in society.

Students engaged positively with the session and we look forward to Wirreanda Secondary School furthering our community connection with PAFC when they join us on November 24th for our Respectful Relationships Positive Education Day.


Teresa Bruno


On Wednesday 18th October, a group of students participated in the Tomorrow Man Workshop. Wirreanda had the pleasure of having Ryder Susman visit to run a workshop aimed at young teenage boys. 15 students from Year 9 and 10 participated in the workshop

The workshops are transformative experiences that invite young men to deconstruct and rewrite the “Man Rules”, develop self-awareness and practice the important skills necessary to decide on the culture that will enable them to reach their potential.

Website: www.tomorrowman.com.au

Students participated in – Workshop #1 – “Breaking The Man Code”

The core workshop is a two-hour deconstruction of the Aussie male stereotype as seen in ABC’s “Man Up” documentary. This workshop allows young men to ask questions about the kind of men they’ve learned to be while exploring the man they want to become and the culture they are creating for themselves and their mates.

Youtube Clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTMNWiIurOM

The workshop was focused on working with teenage males to reinvent masculinity by disrupting old school male stereotypes, building emotional muscle and reinventing a more flexible version of tomorrow’s man. The students and Ryder held conversations about the state of ‘being a man’ and ‘the male law’. When the students were asked to describe what they thought the male law was, responses were “to be manly”, “don’t show emotion” and “not to cry”. The students challenged the male law and faced statistics during interactive activities. These statistics were that 90% of behavioural problems were caused by men, along with 80% of violent crimes were committed by males. In addition, nine out of 10 people in prison are male, and are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, and 1 in 2 males have no close friends.

The first interactive activity involved applying nail polish to three students in the group. Ryder then challenged them to wear it for two weeks. The question was asked, “where will the hardest place to wear the nail polish be?”. Answers given from the boys were, at home (especially around male family members), at school (around their friends), at the beach, and whilst at work.

The second activity was called “step to the line”. A line was drawn in the middle of the room, and Ryder asked the students to form a line either side of the line. Ryder would then challenge them with questions such as “have you ever cried”, “have you offended a girl”, “have you been violent to someone, or witnessed someone who has”. This activity challenged the boys to be honest, but most importantly to be true to yourself and not be ashamed or embarrassed to step to the line, even if they were the only ones who did. This activity defied peer group pressure and allowed the boys to be honest with themselves.

Towards the end of the seminar the students shared some personal life experiences and challenges with each other in this supportive environment. Each student walked away with new perspectives and small goals for themselves and with a vision of the man they wanted to be in the future.  We would like to thank Ryder and all of the students who attended and participated in this seminar. It was a successful and enjoyable afternoon.


ACAP Placement Students

David McPhee and Hayley Lodge

Positive Education Day – Mental Health and Belonging 

On behalf of the Mental Health and Belonging Focus Group, Student Leadership, Year 12 Health class and the Wellbeing Team, I would like to thank all the guest speakers, Katrine Hildyard and community groups for making today such a positive day.

Today, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness to help raise awareness around Mental Health and Belonging and to support  R U OK? Day.

This has included:

  • Student workshop sessions. This encompassed students working closely with key guests, with the objective of raising  awareness around Mental Health.
  • Fostering a sense of belonging within our community.
  • Facilitating learning programs that focus on responsibility to connect with, and care for others to boost confidence.

The long term outcome of these sessions as part of R U OK? Day is to continue to develop skills and knowledge in resilience, respectful relationships, and conflict resolution strategies. We hope that this will aid in enhancing our interactions with our school community, and develop meaningful life-skills for our students.

Our lunchtime community event showcased our school’s commitment and awareness of RU OK? Our students had access to a live DJ, activities from the Onkaparinga Council, henna tattoo artists, support and information from Safe Schools Coalition, and a ‘Conversation Corner’.

Throughout the year, we have actively celebrated the diversity of our school community and promoted positive wellbeing strategies to all students and staff. Events such as today are the embodiment of our safe school policy, inclusivity strategies and programs in which all members of Wirreanda Secondary School have:

  • The right to be included and have respect from others
  • The right to learn or to be taught
  • The right to feel safe and secure in their school environment

We acknowledge that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community, to improve the wellbeing of all students and staff.


Peer Support Training 

On Friday November 4th, a group of Year 9 students participated in the Peer Support training day. This program will link our Peer Supporter students with our new Year 8s to assist them in their transition to High School at the beginning of 2017.

Peer Support students learned a variety of skills to become more effective leaders within our school, this included: learning ‘getting to know you’ and ‘ice-breaker’ activities, discussing and reflecting upon leadership qualities, learning emotional literacy and mindfulness skills and planning how to best support our new Year 8s in 2017. 

The day utilised the skills of various staff and students. Peer Support leaders from this year, (Jett, Mitchell, Layla and Chloe) supported the new cohort of leaders for next year throughout the day. In addition, a range of staff including Ms Bruno, Ms DeGaris, Kadri, Ms Cousins, Mr Maniero,  James and Ms Parker ran sessions to develop the leadership capacity of our students. 

The 2017 Peer Support group were fantastic in participating during the day and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. Your commitment to making Wirreanda a welcoming, fun and exceptional place to learn makes me incredibly proud to be a member of the Wirreanda community.

Thank you to all students and staff who were involved on the day! 

Em Parker

OCEP Program


Learning to Save a Life

Wirreanda Secondary School has been in partnership with Flinders Medical School, Onkaparinga Clinical Education Program( OCEP) now for four years. This involves Medical Students working with our students, teaching and participating in a variety of activities. This year for the first time the year 12 PE students were given an introduction to basic life support by 5 medical students. This involved how to respond to an unconscious casualty using the DRS ABCD algorithm and giving cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The students had hands on practice with mannequins.

One of the students commented “Such an awesome experience, really friendly group of people to help and support. Loved that it was very hands on.”

Learning CPR is a great skill useful for many careers such as health, emergency services and teaching, as well as many others. It is also a great life skill to be able to help out in an emergency.

DRS ABCD- Response to unconscious casualty

D- Danger


S- Send for help
A- Airway

B- Breathing


D- Defibrillator



Emily Cattanach

OCEP Medical Student

Safe Schools Coalition Day

During term 2 – a couple of students from Wirreanda and myself attended the Safe Schools Coalition Action Day.

Wirreanda Secondary School is a proud member of the Safe Schools Coalition. The School acknowledges the diversity of those within our community and the world around us. Students and staff are expected to support efforts in making the school more inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people.

A video from the day was produced by Safe Schools (our student Alex Jevons  features briefly).

Click on the link below to access the video!



Em Parker

Cambodia- Personal Experience

Our trip to Cambodia changed our lives. It was such a memorable experience that we will never forget. The memories we made were unforgettable and will live us for the rest of our lives. It made me realise how lucky we are here in Australia. We have proper, strong scaffolding. The use flimsy wooden sticks or branches. We have a massive plus in Australia. We have more safety here than they do. We have road rules that are set in concrete. We have that added bonus of electricity on building sites. Over in Cambodia at the World of Hope School we had to do everything by hand.

The kids were crazy about stickers. Whenever we pulled out stickers they would always yell out ‘teacher me, me’. Whenever we pulled out the toothbrushes and soap, they all wanted a bar of soap, a toothbrush, and a tube of toothpaste each.  Some of them snuck three toothbrushes into their bags. They would always end up giving them back or giving them other students who didn’t have a toothbrush yet. The kids would always get excited about washing their hands every morning before school started and in the afternoon when the second half of students came to the school.

Both halves of the day the kids were willing to help us doing construction. They didn’t ask they just jumped into the line and help out, no questions. When we were doing the buckets of dirt and mud they help out that, even tho the buckets were heavy; they didn’t care. They helped paint the kindy with paint brushes, short handle rollers and long handle rollers that reached the ceiling. They help us when we were spray painting the walls with the stencils.

The kids were crazy about soccer, giving out hugs and STICKERS. They loved it when Dante (Bruno’s son) and Celeste took them out on the soccer pitch and played a massive game of soccer with them every day. By the end of the trip on our last day at the school, we Wirreanda kids are embarrassed to admit that we were ALL crying. Some of us might say that they didn’t cry. But we all did. It was a truly emotional time and was extremely hard for us to leave the kids behind. One joke that someone made up was ‘as long as they are less than 40kg we can take them home.’ We really do miss those kids and I know I want to go back but I’m not sure about everyone else.

By the last day, the kids were better at their English and they were saying ‘I love you’. That got half of us crying in the first place. Some of the kids were confused and asked why were crying, I said that we were going back to Australia and that we weren’t going to see them again. I said once to them that I’m going to miss them; when they heard that they kept saying ‘I’m going to miss you to. I love you’. We would always say I love you back. I think a lot of the Wirreanda kids got some kisses on the cheek .

I know all of us are going to miss the bright, energetic, bubbly kids .

Felicity Baxter

Cambodia – Angkor Temples 

Today we visited the Angkor Temples which was an amazing experience. Our tour guide discussed the historical context about each of the three temples we visited. Each temple was built in the 12th century and represented different faiths. The first temple was dedicated to Hinduism and the following two were dedicated to Buddhism. The last temple we visited is where the film ‘Tomb Raider’ (featuring Angelina Jolie) was recorded and produced. This entire trip has been a life changing experience which has had a positive impact on myself. I have connected with all of my peers during my time in Cambodia. The highlight of my trip so far has been being able to contribute my support to the World Of Hope School and seeing the beaming smiles on each of the children’s faces at the end of the day. I would also like to thank Ms Bruno, Ms Parker and Mr Dixon for making this amazing once in a life time opportunity possible and ensuring that we are all safe. Also a huge thank you to Rey for being such an inspirational director and making us all feel welcomed. 
Thank you, Celeste Cameron.