Cool night ahead as leaders prepare for CEO Sleepout

Education leaders and school staff are sleeping rough as part of the 2024 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Department Secretary with his cardboard sleeping tent at CEO sleepout Department Secretary with his cardboard sleeping tent at CEO sleepout
Image: Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar braces for a cold night in at the annual CEO sleepout

NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar will join school leaders and staff from Fort Street and Young high schools for this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout tonight.

Sleepout participants will rug up in beanies and blankets as they sleep without shelter to raise funds to combat homelessness.

It is the second year Mr Dizdar has participated in the Sleepout.

Fort Street High principal Juliette McMurray is also returning to participate in what will be her third Sleepout. She will be joined by school deputy principal Rebecca Cameron.

Ms McMurray said the school community raised $23,788 in 2022 for the Sleepout, and a further $34,001 last year.

“In 2022, Fort Street High introduced a Year 8 interdisciplinary project called ‘Slum Survivor’, an overnight simulation of living and working conditions of people living in developing countries,” she said.

“The simulation helps young people experience in a small way what life might be like if they were living on less than $3 per day.

“Around that time, I received an email in my inbox about the Sleepout and I felt compelled to lead by example.

“I was humbled by the school community response and, after that initial fundraising success in 2022, I decided I would have to commit to the event each year.”

Woman at CEO sleepout smiling Woman at CEO sleepout smiling
Image: Despite the cold Fort St High principal Juliette McMurray is all smiles as she sleeps out to help the homeless

Young High School principal Anna Barker said eight staff were participating in the 2024 Sleepout. She said temperatures of just below freezing were predicted in Young for Thursday night.

“While we’re excited, we’re less excited about the forecast temperatures,” Ms Barker said.

“But it’s such an important cause. We’re raising awareness about homelessness and contributing to Vinnies’ efforts in providing shelter, meals, and essential services to those in need.

“Stepping out of our comfort zones allows us to better understand the challenges faced by others and appreciate our own privileges.

“Vinnies has been a lifeline for our students and families, always there to provide support during times of crisis with essential necessities. They’re an incredible organisation that we’re proud to support.”

Mr Dizdar raised just under $15,000 in his first Sleepout last year and will look to at least match that again in 2024.

Donate to Mr Dizdar

Donate to the Fort Street High Team

Donate to the Young High Team

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