At last year's National Finals at Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School, competing Scenario Writing finalists were charged with reporting on the marvellous projects on display at the CmPS fair. Here is what they had to say:
2012's Community Problem Solving challenge was wide and varied, with many successful and interesting projects on display. Exploring important issues of cultural, social, and general societal importance, the entrants enthusiastically shared their various projects with everyone who came.
Kids Count: - The Illawarra Grammar School, NSW
This project studied the issue of bullying. They looked at solutions for bullying, as well as running education plans to inform children about bullying. To provide an effective means of communication, they utilised social media, as well as using surveys to determine children's understanding of the nature of verbal and physical harassment.
SHARE: - Firbank Grammar School, Vic
SHARE looked at supporting education for disadvantaged Aboriginal communities. Working closely with the remote schools Milyakburra and Tjuntjuntara, they attempted to encourage students to take an interest in literacy, through the means of posters, literacy packs, and other such methods of aid.
ALERT: - Firbank Grammar School, Vic
This project looked at the issue of allergy awareness, and worked to improve the knowledge of allergies in their community. They gained attention for their program through effective means such as a bake sale, picture books for younger children, and a recipe book.
CCD: - Loreto Normanhurst, NSW
Celebrating Cultural Diversity looked into the issue of racial discrimination. They set up a website and utilised social media to communicate with their community using Facebook and Tumblr. Earlier this year, they held a Harmony Day to celebrate cultural diversity through music and dancing in a concert. They got their whole school involved, with a school-wide lunch.
SWIM: - Mount St Benedict College
Mount St Benedict's display focused on raising awareness of water safety, with children's swimming ability as the main focus. Temporary tattoos and lanyards were just some of the giveaways available. The girls made presentations to classes at a local Primary School about the dangers of water safety and drowning. Through use of charts and other visualisations of the data the group had uncovered, their display was very accessible for casual viewers, as well as interesting and informative. This group also utilised presentation to great effect by having a live demonstration available for visitors to take part in.
DARUG: - Mount St Benedict College
Personal history was a large part of the DARUG group's appeal; they examined the relationship between their school and the land's original custodians, the Indigenous Darug people of New South Wales. The group aimed to inform their school of its spiritual history, as well as to raise interest in Aboriginal Land Rights, especially those in NSW. The girls said that they found the discovery and consequent analysis of the Darug people a deeply personal and empowering experience.
BEAUTY: - The Illawarra Grammar School, NSW
This stall chose to focus on a more gender-based topic; body image and perception of beauty versus the media's designated perspective. Their stall was decorated by examples of negatively doctored images, and various interviews that the group had conducted on the subject of negative body image. The interviewees included a school counsellor and a fashion model, who both shed some light upon the issue with great depth and understanding. By providing statistics and conducting surveys with students, the group gained appreciation of the effect that body image perception has upon teenagers, especially girls.
ABC123 Closing the Gap: - Ravenswood, NSW
ABC123 Closing the Gap is one of the Community Problem Solving teams from Ravenswood, NSW. They discovered that 60% of Indigenous children are significantly behind non-indigenous children in Literacy by Year 1. Altogether, ABC123 raised over $4000 from bake sales, book swaps and other charity events. "The meaning of our program is to give indigenous children the opportunity to learn to read and write effectively," said Jessica Hunter. Their aim is to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children by helping Indigenous children to read and write.
ARC: - Ravenswood, NSW
Another one of the Community Problem Solving teams was ARC or Assisting Refugee Children, from Ravenswood, NSW. They are working on delivering fun, happiness and childhood to refugee children. Many of these children have moved out of Detention Centres and into Community Detention, where they receive only $150 a week for all their needs.
SHIP: - Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, Vic
Ivanhoe uncovered their school's extensive and illustrious history, and aimed to raise awareness about it amongst students. To do this, they utilised many effective and unconventional tactics, such as surveying students on what they knew of the school and emailing interesting facts to students to keep them involved and create a sense of participation. The display was highly informative and visually appealing, and gave a strong idea of their effort to get the school's past the recognition they felt it deserved.
LIFE: - The Illawarra Grammar School, NSW
Illawarra Grammar School examined first aid and general health and safety, and aspired to inform students at their school about it. This took the form of special health and physical education classes that focussed on first aid, and speakers that came to the school to demonstrate first aid practices. The girls commented upon the highly successful social aspect of their project, saying that through their efforts they met many new students, and that finding out about general health and wellbeing allowed them many opportunities to socialise as well as learn new and exciting things.
HEALTH: - The Illawarra Grammar School, NSW
HEALTH provided physical examples of healthy and unhealthy foods to demonstrate their effort to raise awareness about healthy eating and obesity. The group tackled complex statistics and provided visual demonstrations of the data they had discovered to enjoyable effect. To get their class involved, the group conducted interviews with dieticians and distributed health pamphlets on the subject. HEALTH was a highly informative and interesting display.
Written by: Daniel Gilerman, Charlotte Wong, Matthew Goh, Eliza Janssen