Student Leaders Congress Celebration Night a success for region's future

THE future of the south-west is bright if Wednesday night’s Student Leaders Congress celebration was anything to go by.

The congress asks students from south-west schools to undertake a project that will make a difference in their schools and communities.

Now in its fourth year, the congress’ focus in 2017 was on mindfulness, mental health and wellbeing. 

In March, students from 28 schools heard presentations from Peter’s Project’s Vicki Jellie and the Resilience Project’s Hugh van Cuylenburg.

The lessons learnt that day led to a wide range of projects, including a multicultural week, a street library, fundraisers, and mindfulness activities.

Woolsthorpe Primary School principal and congress co-orgainser Simon Perry said that what made the congress unique was its “hands on” approach.

“With some student leader congresses you often go to a day of speakers and go away and do nothing,” Mr Perry said.

“This one gets the kids … to focus on what it means to be a leader in the community … and by doing real life things in their communities.”

Wednesday night’s event at the Lighthouse Theatre saw most of the participating schools present a two-minute video detailing their project and its outcomes.

Many of the projects focused on the Resilience Project’s positive mental health strategies, which centre on gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

This manifested at Nullawarre & District Primary School as a “nurture room”, where kids can go if they are having a difficult time and need to calm down and relax.

West Warrnambool Primary School held a multicultural week, inspired by the cultural backgrounds of some of the students.

Hawkesdale P-12 built a community street library, Warrnambool East Primary School created a “connecting community club” to help students make new friends and try new activities, and Cudgee Primary School explored empathy for the less fortunate by having a day without electricity, technology or a normal Western diet.