School captains shine a light during pandemic

Year 12 school captains at Kurnai College have developed new leadership skills while boosting the morale of their peers in amusing, all-grade video updates.

Riley, 17, and Chloe, 18, are both studying Year 12 VCE at the school's campus in Churchill, south of Morwell.

What were originally voice announcements over the PA system every Tuesday by Chloe, and Thursday by Riley, have turned into engaging and comical videos aimed at helping their peers cope during the pandemic.

Once remote and flexible learning commenced, the students quickly adapted, moving from Facebook Live to pre-recorded videos. The videos each have a different theme featuring props, music and any willing cast members they could find in their home-based learning environments.

Riley said he liked to find ways to keep people positive, with his parents chipping in ideas for video announcements, while Chloe has turned to the genres of drama and news to pepper her Tuesday video announcements which also include some family members.

View this compilation of the students' videos, created by the Department:

Lessons in leadership and learning

Chloe said she discovered skills and resources she never knew she had.

'I edit the videos on my computer, it's really fun,' she said. 'It would be amazing if I could develop my video skills.'

Both students reflected on the importance of leadership during the uncertain period of the pandemic and how the 'phenomenal' support of teachers made all the difference.

'It's such an interesting time in history to be a part of – it's not what I expected going into Year 12,' Riley said.  'Finding ways to manage and cope, and how to interact with people online while being distanced has been a very positive learning experience.'

'The teachers are very supportive and they are really very supportive of each other – we're in this together,' Chloe said.

Captains light the way for the community

Principal Anthony Rodaughan said he was very proud of Riley and Chloe and for their character, creativity and leadership in lifting morale during the pandemic and learning from home.

'Everyone in this disadvantaged community looks forward to these bright spots in the week and they are awaited by students, teachers and parents alike,' Mr Rodaughan said. 'They (Riley and Chloe) have worked hard to shine a humorous light during these dark days (of the pandemic).'

From 26 May 2020, the staged return to on-site schooling will see Riley and Chloe join Years 11 and 12 Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) students back on site.

During remote and flexible learning in Term 2, Kurnai College received 600 devices, including tablets and laptops, to help students learn and stay connected. The Department actively worked with schools to ensure families had access to the internet and, as well as paper-based resources for schools to distribute as required.

'The Latrobe Valley has been hard hit in recent times but with the support of the Department, the leadership of these students and the strong spirit within Kurnai College, we have a quiet confidence that we will overcome this present challenge,' Mr Rodaughan said.

The Department of Education and Training is working with students, teachers, principals and families to ensure lessons from remote and flexible learning are being captured and shared. Access resources on the Learning from Home web page.