We’ve got your back … pack

Schools across the State have found innovative ways to support students impacted by the devastating floods. Poppy Diamantis reports.

A group of students holding a sign that says we have got your backpack
Image: Packing a punch: Macquarie Fields High School students send a message of support.

When students at Macquarie Fields High School heard about the impact of the floods on Aboriginal students living in northern NSW they wanted to show their peers they had their back … pack.

Led by Aboriginal Learning and Wellbeing Officer Vicki Bowen, the school worked in partnership with the Australia Football League Indigenous Academy and Lismore-based newspaper Koori Mail, to send $780 and hundreds of school-ready backpacks to affected students.

Macquarie Fields High School Wellbeing head teacher Melissa Collins said the school’s wellbeing team had thrown its support behind the initiative.

“When Charlie Mundine and Matthew Keevil from the AFL Indigenous Academy heard about our school's delivery of backpacks through Vicky, they arrived at Macquarie Fields High School with even more backpacks,” Ms Collins said.

Officeworks Casula also supported the students' efforts by donating $230 of stationary items.

Year 12 Prefects worked with Prefect Coordinator Joshua Luc to make stationary packs with all the essential items students would need to get back to their learning.

They had then written personalised cards for each backpack.

“Our Year 12 students also packed backpacks especially for Year 11 and 12 students with scientific calculators and USBs,” Ms Collins said.

In Sydney’s north west, brothers Michael and Isaac Houng at Oak Drive Public School, set off on a personal quest to raise money for flood-affected students through their own read-a-thon.

Between them, Year 6 student Michael and Issac (Year 4) read 55 books and raised a total of $1,158.05. Their parents matched the money they raised, and the family donated their $2,400 to the Red Cross Flood Appeal.

Castle Hill High School’s fundraiser ‘flood-drive’ raised $3500 in cash and $1000 in vouchers. The money will be used to buy vouchers at various supermarket and retail outlets and was delivered via NSW Police.

Castle Hill High School also donated boxes of non-perishable foods to the Australian Food Bank for distribution to families in flood-affected areas across NSW.

A group of primary students with their principal holding a home-made cheque.
Image: Cheque this out: Avalon Public School principal Andy Rankin and students raised $5000 for flood-affected schools and created their own donation cheque.

Class acts

From Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Avalon Public School raised $5000 for
flood-affected schools. Principal Andy Rankin and the school’s staff were very grateful to all students and the school community for the donations received and to the students who created their own donation cheque.

“Our school leaders collected the money from each class and were so excited to see such a large total,” Mr Rankin said.

Students from Sydney’s inner-west Burwood Girls’ High School raised several thousands of dollars for students at Mullumbimby primary and high schools.

In Sydney’s south, Carlton Public School showed their community spirit “…stretched further than their front gate.”

Its Fiver for the Floods school and school community fundraiser raised more than $17,000 to support school communities in the Northern Rivers at Wardell, Cabbage Tree, Broadwater, Woodburn and Empire Vale Public Schools.

North Rocks Public School held a 'Fiver for a Flooded Community" mufti-day to support The Rivers Secondary College in Lismore, raising $5000 to purchase gift cards for food and essential services.

Student leaders from Epping Boys High School and Cheltenham Girls High School teamed up and arranged several fundraising events to also raise money for the three high schools which make up The Rivers Secondary College in Lismore.

Between both schools, a collective $8700 was raised, with more donations still coming in before the school holidays to help the schools’ reach their target of
$10,000.

Epping Boys High School students were also donating their time by volunteering to help out in flood-affected areas during the current school holidays.

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