Avondale School donates retail vouchers and Christmas gift packages to drought-ravaged Inverell community

TWO Avondale School students have travelled to Inverell to make a special delivery to the drought-stricken town.

Year 10 design and technology students Sophie Lynn and Scarlett Mitchell were the student representatives in an Avondale School delegation that met with Inverell mayor Paul Harmon shortly before Christmas.

The students handed over $1500 in vouchers to be spent at Inverell businesses, as well as 50 Christmas gift packs featuring toys designed and created by the students.

The donation was made possible by funds raised at an end-of-year mufti day at the Cooranbong school.

Avondale School teacher Nigel Lynn said the Inverell mayor was moved by the generous gesture.

"Mr Harmon was most appreciative and passed his humble thanks on to Avondale School, as well as the teachers and students who were involved in the drought-relief Project Based Learning (PBL) activity," Mr Lynn said.

"He said the gifts would help lift the spirits of struggling farmers in the area, and he organised for the gifts to be distributed by several charity groups."

Mr Harmon also invited the Avondale School delegation to morning tea at a local café.

"The cafe owner asked Sophie and Scarlett why they were so lucky to be out of school, and Mr Harmon explained what the girls had just presented to him, and how they had travelled from Lake Macquarie," Mr Lynn said.

"The café owner got tears in his eyes and walked away before returning with $100 worth of gift vouchers and asked Mr Harmon to add them to the Avondale School gifts.

"Soph and Scarlett, and all at the table, were overwhelmed and tearful."

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Mr Lynn said Inverell was chosen as the beneficiary following a discussion among school staff.

"We had a department meeting about a PBL to do in the last weeks of school in 2019 to keep students engaged," he said.

"At the meeting we decided to focus on drought relief. Members of staff shared their knowledge of drought stricken regions."

Inverell Shire Council was contacted and gratefully accepted the school's offer of support.

The idea to buy vouchers from the local businesses in that town came through conversation and planning with Mr Harmon.

Mr Lynn said Project Based Learning was the way forward for education.

"It involves more practical hands-on learning rather than just teaching from a textbook," he said.

"By definition, it involves groups of students collaborating to develop team-based projects that respond to situations outside of the classroom. It is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects."

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