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.

Cambodia – Khmer History 

The first week in Cambodia for me has been an eye opening and life changing experience. I have enjoyed every minute of it. My most happiest moment so far was visiting the orphanage and dancing with the children. I learnt technics from them and we taught them dance routines such as the nut bush and the macarena. Although it was exhausting it was worth every minute to see a smile on their faces. Today we visited the killing fields and the war memorial. After learning about what happened and how many people lost their lives during this terrible time made me appreciate my life more. 
-Emma McAllister 

Today (Sunday the 10th of July) was a long, but interesting day. We went to the Pagoda and Killing Fields. Which was really cool. I enjoyed walking around looking at the photos and news article type things that were around the place. There was a lot of cultural architecture there which I really enjoyed. I liked seeing the style of each building/sculpture especially the Buddha’s. On top of the huge learning experience, there was also 2 tiny kittens which were just adorable. After lunch we headed to the War Museum which was an eye opener. The ‘tour guide’ was actually a survivor of the Khmer Rogue War that happened in 1935-1939. He got shot quite a few times yet managed to survive which is amazing. After the war museum we went to a cultural village which was cool, there were quite a few performances there which were nice. We also had dinner there which was nice. Then after a really long day we finally made it back to the hotel. 
-Chelsea Joblin

Cambodia – Day 2 

Day 2
We awoke to the smell of spices in the air, it’s hard to believe we are in a different country! We arose from a heavy slumber still somewhat fatigued but bursting with anticipation for the day ahead. 

Each day, students will be divided into 2 groups & rotate after spending half of the day either teaching or building. Group 1 will be teaching in the morning and on construction in the afternoon. Group 2 will be on construction in the morning and teaching in the afternoon.

Dante will run the Soccer program during both sessions with the assistance of Celeste, Alex and Amber (who will rotate assisting with the soccer program) 
Teliah has been busy preparing music lessons as part of her teaching program & has brought some basic instruments to teach the children with. 

Todays teaching component included: introducing yourself, getting to know the children, reading them some of the books that the Wirreanda students made for them about Australia. 
Todays construction included preparing cement by hand for the foundations of the kindergarten, needless to say we should all sleep well tonight .

From a teacher’s perspective, it’s been amazing to see our Wirreanda students develop strong leadership skills and learn to take initiative during challenging tasks. We are incredibly proud our students’ hard work and positive attitude. We are all looking forward to going out to dinner together as a whole group & getting to know each other better.