Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business.
Each year the world looks forward to the creative talents of the entire Beaudesert State High School as they bring quirky and imaginative angles to The Archibull Prize competition. Their 2019 entry was no exception. Representing Australia’s dairy industry their Archie, Hope, incorporated real bovine bones, braille, a cut-out Herringbone dairy and a robotic milking arm. It earned Beaudesert the title of Grand Champion Archibull and has opened the door to allow agriculture’s new voices to amplify their impact.
Watch the moment when the Beaudesert State High School students and teachers find out they have won The Archibull Prize 2019
Beaudesert’s 2019 Archibull journey was a collaboration between students, teachers, industry and community, and epitomises the ethos it take takes a village to raise a child.
Highly effective schools have high levels of parent and community engagement. ‘Community’here includes parents, business and philanthropic organisations, and various services and not-for-profit organisations. Rather than being set apart from the rest of the community, the school is now often seen to be its hub. The community, in turn, is seen as an important source of resources and expertise for the school. Source
At the helm was agriculture teacher Laura Perkins.
“We’ve always had support from the community but each year it gets bigger and bigger and this year it was like a snowball that turned into an avalanche. We had Subtropical Dairy and Dairyfields Milk Suppliers (DFMSC) supporting us. We had Dovers – a local machinery group, we had Hillview Primary School and the council have been amazing.
We got a letter from the Hon. Scott Buchholz MP offering his congratulations to the school and he made a comment how the Archibull was the talk of the town.
We had our own Facebook page and the support on that was superb. The Beaudesert Times were fabulous online and in print and some of the comments from the community on their Facebook page were amazing.
Local people want to know how we can get the cows out in the community even more.”
250 students worked directly on Hope – designing, painting, soldering and applying the myriad of LED lights. “And that’s not including all these other kids who have been supportive and encouraging, especially in the People’s Choice Award, and took what we were doing home and spread the word,” Laura says.
For Laura the biggest highlight in participating in The Archibull Prize has been working with other faculties in the school with special mention to robotics expert Vincent Kruger and the development of her students, and in particular a vision-impaired girl named Shaye.
“When I first met Shaye she barely raised her head when I said hello to her but now when I ask who would like to do some guest speaking in front of a group she jumps in straight away,” Laura says. “She chose a message to put on our cow in braille and now we have been contacted by Sally Baldwin from Braille House who is going to support this student, and the rest of our school, to learn braille. Shay now wants to get a stick and a guide dog and work herself and not rely on others. But it’s not just her. It is all the other kids as well.
“The confidence the students participating in The Archibull Prize have developed is amazing. They speak fluently. They think before they say things and they are very exact in what they say.”
This confidence is manifesting itself as a promotion of agriculture, which has been consolidated by winning the Grand Champion Archibull trophy. At the conclusion of the Archibull presentation day in Sydney special guest Costa Georgiadis spent time with the Beaudesert students explaining to them the importance of their win. He produced, from a battered canvas bag, a chipped silver Logie and told how this item has helped him share messages important to him.
“I said to my kids that we really need to listen to Costa because he is a clever man,” Laura says. “Our Archibull award is beautiful – it’s a hand painted cow and I’ve always wanted one – but the last thing I want is for this to go to the library and sit behind glass and over time get pushed back a little further because there are newer trophies added.”
“I told our kids ‘our Archibull trophy is not just a trophy. You need to use it as a microphone to let people be aware of what your journey has been and where it is going to take you. If it gets a chip so be it, if it gets a bit not-so-fancy then so be it, but you need to use this now to project your voice.’
This is the start of these kids getting their own voice and talking about their experience and their journey.”
The journey took another step forward when Laura and her students were invited by Brian Cox to present at a Young Dairy Network dinner in December.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to get the kids started and give them momentum. And it also gives us something positive to hear about. As dairy farmers we can get stuck in our own worlds and routines so having the youth come along gave us some energy. They all spoke confidently and were comfortable in front of us telling their stories. The students have shown me through The Archibull Prize the dairy industry has the next generation of ambassadors coming through with the communication skills to help the community investigate, analyse and advance other’s understandings of the dairy industry’s commitments to sustainable and ethical practices and this event has inspired me to encourage young farmers within southeast Queensland to present to our group.” says Brian Cox
The Beaudesert Archibull students are taking on leadership roles within the school, with the 2020 school captain also an agriculture student, and are knocking on a multitude of doors. They are looking at opportunities to speak at national dairy conferences, to visit robotic dairies and to partner with industry programs.
“Anything we can connect these kids with is going to be beneficial and this is all because of the Archibull Prize. These opportunities wouldn’t have arisen if we hadn’t done this.” says Laura
And the team behind The Archibull Prize say mega kudos to the entire Beaudesert Community
Consistent findings from the research in Australia and overseas is that strong school-community engagement can bring a range of benefits. These are not only to students but to teachers, schools as a whole, partners and the wider community. For these benefits to occur, school-community partners need to have a shared vision, work in genuinely collaborative ways, and monitor the progress and effectiveness of their partnership activities. Sharing the results of this good practice means others can recognise the important role that community groups can play in supporting education and schools. Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business. Source