To start Term 4 we were invited to take part in a fantastic project in Mt Druitt, with students from Willmot Public School and Chifley College. The high school students became tutors for the primary school students - and the results were amazing.
In a project run in partnership with Blacktown Council and The Hive - Mt Druitt, our Willmot Public students had a big task - to cast a critical eye over the aspects of their suburb they liked the least, attribute these annoying and terrifying and frustrating events to an evil villain, and then create a superhero who would combat them with powerful qualities such as kindness, respect, resilience and love.
They were supported through this process by 11 Year 9 students from the Shalvey campus of Chifley College. To prepare, these guys, who all self-selected to take part in the project, wrote up a storm in their own workshop ( just to see what it felt like!) then got trained up as tutors.
We brought both groups of students together no fewer than four times, over two intense days, across two weeks, and both tutors and young writers were nothing short of wonderful.
The Shalvey students displayed some of the best tutoring we've seen, and we don't say that lightly. As one of the students said in the orientation, "We're the disengaged students you're talking about, we know what works best!"
The stories the Willmot students came up with were simply spectacular. One student decided his hero would soak up all the love of the victims of his bullying villain, and use the power of love to emanate from his heart and prevent the villain from bullying any further. Another student had her hero become friends with the evil zombie eating everyone's brains - a gesture no one had ever offered and which stopped her in her tracks.
We were quite literally brought to tears, especially when our Willmot Students cried because they had to say goodbye to their awesome tutors.
Shalvey students - a massive thank you from us all for being so enthusiastic, trusting, and totally fantastic role models for your younger friends!
Willmot students - we're incredibly excited to be working with you through the rest of the term and right throughout 2018.
Thanks for inviting us to be part of your community!
Photos: Ben Rose