Fountain Gate Secondary School VIC- Middle Division CmPS team
This is one of our wonderful CmPS teams that have been invited to this year’s National Finals. In June they answered some questions for us about the project they are completing. Make sure to come along to the CmPS fair at Nationals to see what else they, and our other teams, have been able to achieve.
What is the main concern of your project?
The main concern of our project is the fact that many crimes are committed in our local community and we believe there is a lack of pride and respect shown by community members. Other concerns of ours include hoon driving, litter, graffiti, and racial tension. If we don’t take action against these issues, they will continue to remain unresolved and will eventually become much worse.
How did your team come together? Are any of you involved in other parts of the FPS program?
The team originally came together by our coach gathering a group of students of years 7 and 8 (at the time), introducing the whole concept of FPS and asked us if we were interested and would consider being a part of the 2013 CmPS program. The school had never been involved with FPS before and neither had we, so it was quite a new prospect to all of us. However we all excitedly accepted and took on the challenge willingly and determinedly. This year, as year 8 and 9’s, we regrouped and began our CmPS journey.
Why did you decide to focus on this issue? Why is it of particular importance to you?
The idea initially began when the topic of our school logo was brought up, with a few members thinking it was actually a cabbage. However we were soon informed that it was five rings that stood for different aspects of the community that were intertwined and that it was based on the fountain, which is our community symbol. The problem is that barely anyone in our school and the community can identify what the logo means or even that the fountain is our symbol. This issue is particularly important to us, as we believe that since this is our community, we should know what represents us and be proud of it. Once we discussed the lack of knowledge around our symbol we soon found a number of other issues related to it, the main one being the lack of community spirit and belonging. We brainstormed this and started our research, and were quite shocked at the results we found, but really impressed with the support we gathered around making a difference for our community and our future.
What actions have you taken so far?
We have presented our project to local community figures including Judith Graley (Narre Warren South MP) who also agreed to become our champion, Luke Donellan (Narre Warren North MP) who has donated money and time, and the City of Casey Mayor Councillor Amanda Stapledon. They were all very supportive and interested in our project and what we intend to do. We have had two member statements addressed by both Judith and Luke in parliament, which we had the opportunity to go and watch. Judith asked us to write her speech and she read it word of word to State Parliament.
We met with the City of Casey Landscape Designer Luke Jenkins and his team, who helped us in regards to the design of the fountain and what our next steps were before we could begin the process of designing a community garden around the fountain. Through support from the Mayor we have also gained the support of our local council representatives – Cr Sam Aziz and Louise Berkelman. Louise presented a notice of motion on our behalf to council, making our project official. The notice requested us to present to Casey Council next month as well as employ Luke and the design team to assist us in developing a garden around the Fountain.
We were also invited as guests on Casey Radio by the Mayor, to speak for the hour long slot in ‘Women’s Hour’ about the project and to raise public awareness as well as let the public know how to get involved in the project.
What actions do you plan to take in the future?
In the near future, we intend to speak at the General Council meeting to present to the councillors in our area. We are planning to attend a designing workshop run by Luke Jenkins, to learn more in regards to architecture and designing and to establish a garden design to have around the Fountain. Our plan is to involve the local primary schools and community in the project by giving out a survey for the residents to complete, which will include feedback and opinions on the Fountain Gate area and the Fountain. Community involvement will aid us greatly in the project, as we are doing this for them and they are the ones we aim to provoke pride in. Through Mayor Amanda Stapledon, we have also been given a contact for an Aboriginal elder to receive some insight on the Aboriginal history of the land. We are also planning to work with the Robin Boyde foundation to ensure his work is the ‘hero’ of the garden design. Long term wise, our intention is to design and then build a community garden around the Fountain, incorporating the Aboriginal heritage of the land, as well as the multiculturalism of the area today. Our ultimate goal is to encourage community pride and to make a difference by raising public awareness of the history of our areas, the culture and gain their involvement for the future.
What is the best thing about working together as a group?
We believe the best thing about working together as a group, is each of us having our role in the team and finding our strengths to contribute with. This has created a strong team structure and bond that we weren’t aware we could have ever had. As well as this, we have found it wonderful being able to work with each other to achieve so many things and go through experiences together.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of being involved in CmPS?
We think that the biggest benefit of being involved in CmPS is the opportunities that we have encountered and the many people we’ve met. This program has also given us an insight of the real working world that we will soon be a part of and contributing in. It’s taught us many helpful skills that are required when dealing with real life situations and aided in our overall education. It’s fantastic to know our community and the history behind it, as before this program we would probably never have found out these things about where we live.
What part of being in the team has surprised you the most?
The part of being in the team that has surprised us the most is the experiences which we’ve had the opportunity to go through and the people that we’ve had the honour to meet. It has also surprised us how well our team has cooperated and how much we have achieved in such little time and with little experience before the project. Overall we have been very pleasantly surprised and continue to be astounded at the community’s willingness to support and help the team, and we have been inspired by so many people along the way.
Team members: Jessica Nikitina Li, Liza Hernyak, Paul Pessamino, Vidul Malavde, Cindy NG, Rocky He, Nam Truong