Students pledge to earn or learn

Getting country students to commit to further education is often a challenge. St Augustine’s College in Kyabram, some 200 kilometres north of Melbourne in the Goulburn Valley, has found an innovative way to get students to commit to further education, or to doing what's necessary to find a job, after year 10.

They teamed up with the Beacon Foundation to host the Beacon Charter Signing Day, where Year 10 students publicly pledge that by the following year, they will be in further education, training and/or employment. 

Beacon, a national non-profit organisation which has worked in more than 180 secondary schools across all Australian states and territories, believes every young Australian can develop an independent will to achieve personal success for themselves and their community. Beacon’s programs support young people to develop this focus through engaging and influencing the attitudes and behaviour of the broader community. By harnessing community involvement, it works within schools to ensure young people are either earning or learning at vulnerable transition points in their lives.

On 6th September, all Year 10 students at St Augustine’s participated in the Charter Signing, a ceremony where Year 10 students, families, invited guests and community members are invited to sign a Pledge Board committing to either staying or supporting the students to remain in education, further training and/or gain employment. This was the culmination of a 12-month program.

Key note speaker Sam Cawthorn, the 2009 Young Australian of the Year in Tasmania, delivered a thoroughly engaging address that provided positive reinforcement of the Beacon message that every young Australian can develop an independent will to achieve personal success for themselves and their community. Every Year 10 student was presented with a certificate attesting to their involvement in the day, and the participation and support from parents and the community alike was remarkable.

St Augustine’s Principal, Mr Oronzo Farina, stated that the Beacon Foundation program supports young people to develop a positive pathway focus.

“With FRRR’s support and the funding from the Gardiner Foundation, we had a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference to many young people’s lives. The Charter Signing ceremony supports our students to develop quality career education with a strong focus for students on building sustainable relationships with the local business community, who were also invited and engaged in this ceremony.”

You can watch a clip of the ceremony on our YouTube channel. Video credit: McPherson Media Group.

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