For the third year in row, Shearwater Year 9 and 10 students have won the Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge, part of a nationwide STEM outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with Southern Cross University.
Groups of students were asked to participate in various activities designed to test critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving ability, with points awarded for design and capabilities. At the end of the regional event, with an exhilarating win in the bridge challenge, Shearwater came in first with 1200.78 points, winning the School more than $1500 worth of science equipment.
We are proud of how the students performed and the way they handled themselves on the day showing School spirit and excellent manners.
Christina Pearce and Robert Sutherland
High School Science
Is it possible to tell a story in 200 words or less? Year 11 English Standard students took the challenge.
Black jeans and a singlet. She gazes at her reflection.
“I’ll be down in a sec! Just one more minute.”
Black jeans and a singlet.
Yuck! No way, I look gross.
A young teenage girl, drowning in a pile of clothes as she scrambles desperately to find something nice to wear. Her room looks like a cyclone has hit it, clothes jumping out from every corner, laughing at her. She picks up top after top and chucks them on the ground after examining herself in the mirror. She decides maybe it’s her pants that have to change instead. Countless outfits are thrown to the floor in dismay. Finally, she finds something she thinks is okay. Black jeans and a singlet.
“Hmm,” she thinks to herself, “this looks nice.”
“Mum, I’m ready to go now.”
She had finally managed to drag the entire family to the dinner table. She often ate with her children but these days they weren’t very good at conversation; the two teenagers sat blankly, neither of them raising a finger as their mother set the table. But she wouldn’t let their pale-faced pessimism get to her. This was a special occasion – the whole family having dinner together. It was always hardest to get her husband to the table as he was the heaviest.
My eyes wander, indulged by the white snow on the strong-armed trees. My feet take me down a pebble path running beside an ice river. I listen to the chirping of the birds, my nosed greeted by the clarity of the air. I reach a wooden-pillared shack; the doors invite me in. My skin is hit by a sudden warmth and I find myself in a chair in front of a fireplace. For once in my life, I feel I belong.
The girl opened the door as carefully as she could, wincing at the sharp creak it made. As quietly and lightly as she could, she stepped out into the narrow hallway. The moon was full tonight, sending shadows creeping through the house. The dark doorway at the end of the hallway leered up at her and the girl could have sworn she saw something move in there. Sweat was trickling down her back now, her breath escaping in small gasps.
The stairs groaned as she stepped on them, causing her to cast panicky glances over her shoulder. Despite the moonlight, the kitchen seemed very dark, too dark to even see the shadows inside. She hurriedly stepped inside the darkened room, the shadows jumping out at her as she… opened the fridge door.
Before she could grab a brownie, a voice yelled down at her from one of the upstairs rooms. The girl jumped back in fright. She’d been caught!
Congratulations to Class 3 students Oliver Heath and Finley Pichler (pictured above) who won the Australian Schools Marbles Championships held recently in Brunswick Heads. Oliver then went on to win the Junior Australian Marble Championships. Oliver and Finley were the youngest competitors in the event, along with Liminal Casidy, also Class 3, who came second in the individual event. Well done to all the Shearwater participants!
Hummingbee Kindies have been busy with seasonal activities this term…we’ve tucked our Golden Daffodil Bulb Babies into their cosy winter beds and care for them each day; some are starting to tentatively pop up their little green heads already!
We have been preparing for our Winter Festival... rolling beeswax candles, and constructing our ‘little houses with starry windows and a fireplace inside’ for our lanterns, to shed a little light for us at this darkest and coldest time of year.
Our fingers have been busy learning finger knitting and making all sorts of things from our stories using modelling beeswax.
Outside we have loved stretching our bodies and exploring what new things we can do with long-rope skipping and our new monkey bars. Thank you Alex for building them for us!
Thank you, too to Zach and Willow’s families who donated rocks for a new dry creek-bed in our playground, and to all the kindies who loaded and pulled trolley loads of rocks into our garden! Our mud-pit continues to be a favourite play-space and is transformed every day with a new play-story, construction and sculpting in mud.
Crystal Creek provides us with opportunities for cooperative play…like moving a huge tree branch to make a bridge to help us cross the water to Crystal Treasure Corner.
Our garden has provided bounteous gifts for baking day – silverbeet, shallots, basil, parsley, tomatoes, mint and lemongrass for warming teas and we have beetroot, zucchini and peas coming on for next term's baking days. Above all, we enjoy our native mulberry, with her tiny pearl-like fruit and the little cubby she provides beneath her branches.
Year 8 students Jemima and Charlotte took part in a recent 'Pick It Up and Bin It' event in Brunswick Heads, collecting six shopping bags of litter from Torakina Park, Brunswick Heads. The regular park clean ups are part of a Positive Change for Marine Life campaign that aims to reduce litter in our seaside parks.
Coordinator Emalee Kinsella said the Shearwater students helped save 54 litres of litter from entering our waterways. "We can't thank Jemima and Charlotte enough for giving up their Saturday afternoon to help us with this journey."
In 2001, when I started at Shearwater, the Class 7s had just planted the first trees at the eastern end of the creek. 17 years later, some of those trees have trunks too large to wrap your arms around, and we have weeded and planted along the entire length of our 1.8 km of creek bank.
In the first half of this year, Heather's and Sally’s Class 7s continued the excellent work begun by Harry's and Michael’s classes last year, removing weeds and planting along the western end of the creek, finally reaching the School’s western border.
This work has been supported by the NSW Government's Environmental Trust, as well as a $3850 Eco-Schools Grant, to cover bush regeneration at the far western end of the creek during 2017 and 2018.
This year’s Class 7s planted a massive 727 trees and 162 lomandra, bringing the total number of trees planted under this grant to 1084 and lomandra to 244. To satisfy the grant targets we still need to plant more lomandra along the creek bank to assist erosion control, and that will happen over the next few months.
Some sections of this massive bush regeneration project have succeeded better than others, for various reasons, and it is my hope that we can spend the next 17 years and beyond continuing the good work of regenerating our section of Mullumbimby Creek’s sub-tropical rainforest.
If you wish to visit these latest works, take a walk past the Farm on the south side, turn at the marvel of our enormous rare Coolamon and you will be able to see the progress of the last four years of planting.
Coordinator Gardening and Bush Regeneration
Multi-award-winning designer and Year 12 Shearwater student, Oceana Piccone, has been awarded the Youth prize at the prestigious Wearable Art Mandurah for Morphett'e - a costume made from hundreds of recycled plastic bags. Morphett'e was also a section-winner at Shearwater's 2017 Wearable Arts performance event. Oceana, who has been creating costumes for the Shearwater event since she was 12, is no stranger to success - wowing the judges and winning prizes for each of the costumes she has created over the past five years. Nonetheless she says she was "thrilled" to have won her section of the Mandurah event, which saw her costume modelled by a professional ballerina and star in a photo shoot. "I almost didn't enter it because the postage was so expensive!" she said.
Oceana, who has been accepted into LCI Melbourne Art and Design School to study a Bachelor of Design Arts in Fashion & Costume Design, said a recent revelation had steered her away from the fashion industry. "The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world [next to oil]," said Oceana. "I don't want to contribute to that. I want to use my art to make the world a better place."
Oceana said she would continue making Wearable Art post-Shearwater, as well as painting and photography, with a focus on using recycled fabrics and materials and found objects.
With three major works for Visual Art, Photography and Design & Technology nearing completion, Oceana, who has been a Shearwater student since Class 2, credits the School with fostering her creativity. "As well as all the painting and drawing and making things, I've had so much encouragement along the way," she said.
With plans to exhibit and sell her collection of paintings before she heads off to Melbourne, Oceana invites people to check out her website and stand-by for details of how you can buy an Oceana Piccone original.
The children in class 3A have recently set out into the mountainous terrain of Lamington National Park for a three-night camp, where they soaked up the scenery, the camaraderie and the challenge. It is the long walks, the sitting by the fireside, the sunrises, the delicious meals and the cosy cottage that we remember most. Oh, and not to forget the flying fox, that got us zooming, ecstatic, through the high trees.
We started by visiting Natural Bridge, where the children were surprised by Rosina who brought all their gnomes out there, a craft project that the class had worked on for an entire year. The children took their beloved gnomes everywhere and cuddled them at night.
At Binna Burra, Groom’s Cottage was our cosy home, built in 1935 by Arthur Groom, with spectacular views all the way to the ocean. This is where we watched the rising sun every morning.
A highlight was the second walk we did (meant to be a short one!), which led us to an enormous cliff with breathtaking views. We snacked on apples and bananas and trotted all the way back, a real challenge for some but likewise a great achievement. Oh, how we welcomed lunch and afternoon tea after that, served at the same time!
The carrying bags up the hill, helping prepare meals, negotiating one’s place in the bunk beds, persevering on the long walks, looking after one another – all these shape a community so caring and tight, observable now that we are back at school. The mood has changed, challenge and effort transformed into perseverance and trust. Being immersed in nature for so many hours a day, deep in the forest, amongst giant trees, boulders held by a web of roots, colourful mushrooms and strangely spiky plants – the children experience an environment away from their usual one, perhaps out of their comfort zones and certainly with different rhythms. Then, new identities and relationships emerge, and a new interest and tolerance for the other, too.
We are very grateful to our wonderful parent helpers Meggie, Ziv and Oren and our accomplished camper Sophie, who ensured that our bellies were full, the cottage was warm, the children accompanied safely on the walks and our wellbeing tended to. It was with glowing faces that we arrived back home, wonderfully exhausted and so proud!
Class 3 Teacher
- Enrolling at Shearwater
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School