Converging on Condo

• Charles Gauci (Cowra High School), Neryle Smurthwaite (Canowindra High School), Michael Sloan (Kelso High School), David Lloyd (Orange High School), Melanie Meers (Anson Street School); second row: : Ann Caro (Lithgow High School), Michelle Barrett (Molong Central School), and Sandra Parker (Parkes High School); front row: Jeff Ward (Principal, Condobolin High School), Kate Wootten (Canobolas Hight School), and John Browett (Blayney High School) took part in the Central West Principal’s Council that was held in Condobolin last week. MB

Principals from across the Central West converged on Condobolin last week.

The Central West Principals’ Council met in the town last Thursday and Friday to undertake new learning opportunities and share information.

“This is an annual event which occurs early in each term where the Principals’ from the High Schools and Central Schools from Lithgow, Kandos, Grenfell, Condobolin and everywhere in between meet to discuss the latest trends and reforms in education, undertake professional learning, share best practice in leadership and management and most importantly network and showcase the excellent work schools are doing in rural and remote education and within their communities,” Condobolin High School Principal Jeff Ward explained.

“The two days were shared between the Wiradjuri Centre and the High School with a network dinner on the Thursday evening. A highlight for most Principals was the boomerang throwing led by local Aboriginal Elder Dick Richards.

“The Principals’ enjoyed his instruction and passion for throwing the boomerang with many of the Principals taking turns to throw with mixed success.”

Mr Ward added the two days was a major success with many of the Principals enjoying the town’s hospitality.

“For those Principals who had been to the Wiradjuri Centre they were amazed at its beauty and grandeur, they also passed comment on how good the High School is looking,” he said.

Mr Ward wanted to thank the Year 11 hospitality class for providing the excellent lunches and morning/afternoon tea’s and the staff for assisting in getting the school ready for the event. 

The Principals also discussed the upcoming State Conference to be held in Sydney where over 500 Principals from NSW Department of Education schools will be in attendance.

The next Central West meeting will be hosted by Parkes High School.

Backing Local Youth

A partnership is being formed between an organisation that helps youth at risk and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC).

• Condobolin’s Darran Powell and BackTrack’s Paul Dawson with Gibson and Bindi. More on the BackTrack visit on page 6 of the Argus 9th September. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

A partnership is being formed between an organisation that helps youth at risk and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC).

Representatives of BackTrack Youth Works spent time in Condobolin last week, listening, learning and sharing what it does to help engage young people and re-connect them with education, employment and their community.

“BackTrack helps kids having a hard time,” Backtrack founder and former Jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft said.

BackTrack was founded about 10 years ago at Armidale, and Mr Shakeshaft said communities across Australia are keen to get on board.

BackTrack has a strong rural component and its programs for young people include welding, dog training and teaching them agricultural skills.

The Condobolin visit included a team of 20 teenagers and dogs from Backtrack’s Paws Up dog jumping team who displayed their skills to the community during WCC’s NAIDOC celebrations l



The BackTrack Trainers and Condobolin Youth enjoyed working with the dogs.


Condo kids shine at Flannofest 2014

Young talent had a chance to shine at Flannofest 2014, with four Condobolin High School students travelling to Sydney to perform in the project.

• Above: Condobolin High School students Joshua Clifford, Lelani Knight, Renee Nash and Emma Kennedy workshopping their performance at Flannofest. Contributed

By Lara Pearce

Young talent had a chance to shine at Flannofest 2014, with four Condobolin High School students travelling to Sydney to perform in the project.

Music and drama students from Condobolin joined with teenagers from other schools across New South Wales to perform to over 700 people at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith.

Year 11 student Joshua Clifford and Year 9 students Emma Kennedy, Renee Nash and Lelani Knight conceived and workshopped their performance, ‘Misfits’, under the guidance of music teacher Sam Azon-Jacometti, drama teacher Danielle O’Keefe and Christina Coleman.

“Performing at Flannofest is an exciting experience,” reflected Condobolin High student, Joshua Clifford. Joshua composed one of the performances which the four students presented at Flannofest.

“It lets you have the freedom to let your talent shine in front of 700 people who are strangers to you,” he said. “At the end of the day, these people will remember you for who you were on that stage.”

The students opened with Joshua’s original composition, which was followed by their dramatic piece, ‘Misfits’. They then impressed the crowd with their voices by concluding with the upbeat song, ‘Keep Your Head Up’, by Andy Grammar.

‘Misfits’ is a dramatic piece about inclusion and fitting in, which the students conceived and workshopped together.

“The students worked hard to present a ten-minute music and drama piece,” explained Mr Jacometti. “Our students had the opportunity to work with an industry professional to prepare their performance and were able to deliver it in a high quality manner.”

“The students received great applause and were constantly stoped in the hallways and corridors and appreciated for their performance.”

Students from ten different schools from across the state displayed a range of theatrical talents, from comedy to physical theatre, contemporary theatre and vocal performances.

The students were able to practice their performance onstage on Thursday 26 June and then performed to huge crowds in the Q Theatre at 12pm and 7pm the following day.

“I really enjoyed meeting students from other schools and having the opportunity to perform together with them,” Year 9 student Lelani Knight said.

Western Plains Regional Development provided the funding for the students to participate in the project.

Local girl for VET Student of the Year

Condobolin High School student, Jessie Haydon, is a finalist for an award as Vocational Education and Training (VET) Student of the Year for the Central West.

• Above: VET Student of the Year finalist for the Central West, Jessie Haydon, with her Hospitality teacher Bev Small in the Condobolin High School kitchen. LP

By Lara Pearce

Condobolin High School student, Jessie Haydon, is a finalist for an award as Vocational Education and Training (VET) Student of the Year for the Central West.

The award is one of a number granted by State Training Services – the vocational training arm of the Department of Education and Communities – for students and apprentices across the State.

Jessie studies a VET course, Hospitality, at Condobolin High School, in conjunction with a traineeship at the Condobolin Motor Inn. She also studies another VET course, Sports Coaching, at school.

Her Hospitality teacher, Bev Small, nominated her for the award. She said that Jessie was selected as a finalist following an interview with a panel, who assessed her commitment to the VET courses, the benefits that she is getting out of her traineeship, and how both are advancing her career.

Jessie has aspirations of being a chef and plans to do her Certificate III in Hospitality at TAFE once she has completed her HSC. It was her Hospitality studies and her traineeship – where she gets to practice not only her cooking, but her customer service, waitressing, cleaning and all-round hospitality skills – that cemented her decision.

The winner of VET Student of the Year will be announced at a presentation ceremony in Orange on 13 June. If selected, Jessie will go on to a further interview and go in the running to be recognised as VET Student of the Year for the whole of NSW.

“I’m excited and nervous, but happy,” Jessie said of the presentation. “It’s actually pretty cool knowing that if I can win, it will help my career. It’s a good opportunity.”

A Beacon of opportunity

The Beacon Foundation is making important inroads into improving student outcomes for Condobolin’s young people.

• A positive pathway for their future – Condobolin High School’s Year 10 students, having just signed the Beacon Charter, stand with Beacon Foundation National Program Manager, Val Ridley, the CEO of Beacon, Scott Harris, and Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation CEO Jenny Wheatley. KP

By Lara Pearce

The Beacon Foundation is making important inroads into improving student outcomes for Condobolin’s young people.

Last Wednesday 7 May, the Year 10 students at Condobolin High School signed a Beacon Charter, pledging to take a positive pathway for their future. For many, this means continuing their education and going on to university, while others plan to go on to employment, TAFE or a traineeship program.

Students took turns to sign the Beacon charter, as did family members, teachers and local business representatives, who all pledged to help support the young people achieve their professional and personal goals.

As a testament to the talent of local students, Tessa Noll sang Bob Marley’s ‘Is this love?’

This was followed by a speech from the Beacon Foundation’s National Program Manager, Val Ridley, who congratulated the Year 10 students on taking the pledge to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

“We have over 14,000 people in Year 10 around the country all doing the same,” she said. “You are a part of something much larger. Beacon has been doing this for twenty-five years.”

Owner of Condo Quality Meats, Daryl Nairn, spoke as a former Condobolin High School student and a local business owner.

He shared his journey from high school into various professions, and how he eventually came to be the owner of a thriving small business, despite some setbacks along the way.

“There are times when the business runs smoothly, and there are times when there are many challenges,” he advised the students. “Don’t let it get you down if things don’t go your way. Just remember, it’s your future, so make the most of it.”

Condobolin High Principal, Grahame Stiegler-Peters, said that the day was about encouraging students to think seriously about their future and to develop relationships with businesses.

The Beacon Foundation also held a Cocktail Party last Tuesday evening, providing high school students, teachers and local businesses and community groups with the opportunity to find out more about what Beacon is doing in Condobolin.

Chief Executive Officer of the Beacon Foundation, Scott Harris, spoke at the event, sharing how the Beacon Foundation started in Tasmania and now has grown to cover over 250 communities across Australia, with close to 50 corporate partners.

“We saw the power of the communities standing alongside the students and supporting them,” he said. “This saw the young people going out on a positive pathway.”

The Beacon Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which works in schools to improve student outcomes and provide them with a pathway when they leave school.

High school students and Beacon Ambassadors, Chloe Houston, Zoe Rodgers, Will Coleman and Emily Habel presented a PowerPoint on what the Beacon program in Condobolin had achieved over the past year, including last year’s charter signing and this year’s business breakfast at the high school on 20 February.

Many local businesses already support the work of the Beacon Foundation in Condobolin, through providing traineeships to students and projects such as Condobolin High School’s ‘business blackboard’, where local business owners present workshops to the students on the real-life business applications of their studies.

The evening provided further opportunities to develop professional relationships.

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