Nod to helping homeless from top educators

Three education leaders will have a lesson in sleeping rough when they take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. Sophie Lambert reports.

A woman wearing a beanie lying under a cardboard box. A woman wearing a beanie lying under a cardboard box.
Image: Fort Street High School Principal Juliette McMurray is all set for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Three public education leaders will spend the longest night of the year next week rugged up in beanies and blankets as they sleep without shelter to raise funds to combat homelessness.

NSW Education Department Secretary Murat Dizdar along with Fort Street and Dapto high school principals Juliette McMurray and Andrew FitzSimons are taking part in the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout on 22 June.

Mr Dizdar said he was pleased to be doing his part to help out.

“Every night thousands of homeless Australians are forced to do it tough on the streets,” Mr Dizdar said.

“Taking part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is about helping those most in need in our communities – many of whom have been students in our care in public education at some time.

“It’s just one way I can show that they are still valued and cared for in our communities.”

Ms McMurray said this year’s event would be the second time she had participated in the event after she was inspired by the efforts of her Year 8 students.

“I did the Vinnies CEO Sleepout for the first time last year because our Year 8 cohort were having a sleepout on the school oval to learn about refugee camps and homelessness in Australia as part of the geography curriculum,” Ms McMurray said.

When this event landed in my inbox I felt I wanted to do the same and lead by example. I ended up raising more than $23,000 and in that moment I knew I would have to keep doing it.”

Mr FitzSimons said that after some years of absence, he was delighted to be joining the CEO Sleepout again this year to amplify the fine work being done by Vinnies.

“Our school is proudly comprehensive. We welcome all and among our 1000 students, there are families having a hard time,” Mr FitzSimons.

“Vinnies is a powerful influence for good, hopefully my involvement in the Sleepout next week gives them a boost.”

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