Students help to draw a better future

Students help to draw a better future

09 Jul 2010

Students from La Trobe University’s Mildura campus have been working closely with local indigenous high school students in a push to increase attendance and literacy levels.

Sife team members at the national titlesThe La Trobe students have been working with students at Coomealla High School for the ‘Students in Free Enterprise’ (SIFE) community outreach program.

The program has allowed La Trobe students to make a difference in the local community and the SIFE Australia National Conference, held later this week in Melbourne, will recognise the efforts of students around the country who are involved in SIFE.

The SIFE project at Coomealla High School was established with a HSBC grant and has allowed La Trobe students to provide valuable support for the rural high school students. Project leader Chantelle Fiege said they are already starting to see results.

‘The Coomealla project allows students to build confidence and self esteem through doing and through positive reinforcement given by the SIFE team and the high school teachers’, she said. ‘Already students are evolving and developing skills they did not have before.’

Located in south-west New South Wales, 15km from Mildura, Coomealla High School has struggled with attendance issues in the past, a problem that La Trobe student Naomi Ulrich is keen to rectify.

‘The main aim of SIFE is to keep these kids in school and to show them how much they can achieve if they apply themselves; to show them that there are people that they can rely on,’ said Naomi.

The La Trobe students have been spending three hours every Monday morning with a small group of indigenous students from years seven, eight and nine. With assistance from their La Trobe mentors, the Coomealla students have created picture story books to be published and distributed to local primary schools. Chantelle Fiege said that working on the books had helped with the students’ literacy development

‘SIFE and Coomealla High School implemented the new literacy program to assist students in developing skills in reading and writing through the use of cartoon drawings and narratives,’ explains Naomi.  

 ‘We were able to use the publication of the books as a motivational tool for the student to work hard to finish their stories.’

The development of the picture books is only one part of a project that aims to help indigenous students realise their potential. In second semester Coomealla students will build planter boxes to be given to community elders as gifts.

From Thursday to Saturday this week, the La Trobe SIFE students will attend the 2010 SIFE Australia National Conference and Championships at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne.

 The La Trobe students will give a 20 minute presentation at the conference on Thursday, discussing the work they have done in the last year and competing for ‘meritorious program recognition.’

Thanks to the efforts of the Mildura campus SIFE team, the program at Coomealla High School will continue to run under the ‘Financial Literacy for Indigenous Youth’ (FLIY) project.

With the High School receiving funding to run Project FLIY independently, the La Trobe students are planning to develop their SIFE project in other local schools.

For more information please contact Rebecca Wells on (03) 5051 4020

Media Contact :
Rebecca Wells
School Support and Promotions Officer
Regional School of Business | La Trobe University | 29 Deakin Avenue, Mildura, 3500
T: 03 5051 4020 | F: 03 5021 0452 | E: | W: 





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