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!
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
Not all classrooms have walls. The Year 11 Marine Studies students have been working towards gaining their boat licences. Students have been working through the theory content online while also receiving real-life lessons from wise man Nick Thorne. Practical boating experience, in the company of an experienced skipper, is a key requirement for obtaining a boat licence. so it is great the students can gain this experience during class time. A boat licence allows students to operate a power-driven vessel on NSW waters over 10 knots and is an important step to obtaining employment in the marine industry.
Speaking of life experiences, students from Years 11 and 12 have also been working towards gaining their Advanced Open Water Dive certificate. This course is designed to advance diving skills and confidence from the Open Water Dive certificate students gain in Year 10. The class recently ventured out to Julian Rocks, in clear, crisp conditions, to clock up some diving time. Diving to 20m for almost an hour, the students hung out with some grey nurse sharks, rays, mulloway, big grouper, eels, and a vast array of other species enjoying the crossover seasonal currents. Those that were not diving enjoyed expanding their lungs doing some free diving on the north side of the rocks, getting up close and personal with a friendly turtle.
Thanks to Sundive for taking us out, Gerard for organising the scuba trips and Nick for being an all round legend. Let’s “sea” what adventures we’ll go on next term.
Marine Studies Teacher
An enthusiastic group of Year 9 students spent the morning removing the last patch of Bitou Bush, at the Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare (BSCFL) site, on the south end of New Brighton Beach last week. Geared up with gloves and loppers, they spent the morning enthusiastically removing the plant from the dunes, leaving behind only chopped branches for mulch.
BSCFL volunteers were under pressure to finish the work by June 30, the date set by Rous County Council who enforce the Biosecurity Act. "We are so pleased it is done and there was no need to spray," said project coordinator Nadia de Souza Pietramale. Ellen White, the project mentor, spoke with the students about the history of this coastal area, and explained how this plant became a problem after sand mining when it was used as a sand stabiliser on the dunes.
"It felt satisfying doing something good for the community," said Tas. “It was great fun and good to be doing something selfless," added Molly.
Nadia de Souza Pietramale and Sandra Brain
Thank you to all those who entered the Oliver’s Hens logo competition last week. We got an overwhelming number of entries, making the judging process very difficult. Congratulations to Edie Arran from Year 8 for creating the winning logo. Please check out our website www.the-local.com.au to see Edie’s logo in use, some of the other great entries and to keep up to date with what’s happening. You can also subscribe on the website to follow the Oliver's Hens journey and receive updates on the project.
The Year 11 Drama students are hard at work rehearsing Georges Buchner's Woyzeck to be performed next week, with a sneak preview this Friday night.
Buchner began writing Woyzeck when he was just 22 years old, two years before his death, of typhus, in 1837. The play is considered the first ever working-class tragedy as well as the first ‘truly modern' drama.
Our production developed organically into an exploration of the exploitation of the poor, rather than the story of a crime of passion. We try to express the tragedy of this poetically, through different styles of performance and movement, inspired by Pina Bausch, the evocative music of Tom Waits and the theatre techniques of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre, as well as a symbolic set.
We would like to thank the office staff for ticketing and sales, Nick Thorne for lending us Mirri’s skate ramp and Tony, Nick and the maintenance crew for setting it up and willingly helping with whatever we needed. Rhys Edwards has been wonderful in organising and coordinating the entertainment crew in sound and vision. We are extremely grateful for all the time and energy given to us by Vasudha Harte, who helped bring the music to life. We have loved the journey together and hope you enjoy the performance!
The play will preview on Friday June 8, followed by two more performances on Tuesday June 12 and Wednesday June 13. The show starts at 7pm. Tickets are available from the Office or at the door and cost $12/$8 conc. Soups, sweets, snacks and beverages will be available from 6.15pm outside the Hall. Phone 6684 3223 for more information.
Don't miss this opportunity to support our amazing Year 11 performers and Entertainment crew. We look forward to seeing you there!
- Enrolling at Shearwater
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School