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Top class relief effort |

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April|09
Heartfelt ... Gayndah State School's 230 students on the school oval to raise money for bushfire victims.

Queenslanders were shocked by the devastation and loss of life caused by the bushfires in Victoria and the destructive flooding created by Cyclone Ellie in our state's north earlier this year. Generous school communities across the state rallied to help, donating more than $33,000. Even those isolated in the flood zone were quick to offer support, raising money for fire victims, becoming evacuation centres or being students' link to the outside world.
Anne Tannock reports.

Top class relief effort | Fundraising State Schools

The floods were an exciting introduction to the far north for Fiona Connor who had a staggered trip up the Queensland coast to take up her first posting as a principal at Croydon State School.

'I had to wait in Townsville and was delayed in Cairns for a few days until the flood waters subsided and then the police took me to the school which was on an island,' Ms Connor said.

High and dry ... the view from Ingham State High School, a logical spot for a designated emergency accommodation centre, was distinctly soggy.

High and dry ... the view from Ingham State High School, a logical spot for a designated emergency accommodation centre, was distinctly soggy.

'After being a classroom teacher in Brisbane for 10 years it was a new experience to come to a school with a total population of 36 students and to start in the midst of a flood.

'We didn't have our full enrolment for at least three weeks after the start of school as several children were stranded in Mareeba, Atherton and Normanton.

'We did however have lots of snakes. Croydon Shire Council came and dealt with them and also removed the fallen trees.'

Mount Isa School of the Air students in the state's northwest felt the brunt of the floods with 15 students isolated for up to eight weeks.

Principal Timothy Moes said most classes continued because teaching materials were mailed before the floods.

But for some students the on-air lessons were something of a lifeline, their only contact beyond the flood waters.

'We had four property classrooms inundated and through our Charity Golf Day in Mount Isa we have raised $4500 to help replace damaged computers, printers, desks, library books and stationery,' Mr Moes said.

During the height of the floods, Ingham State High School became home for eight days for up to 90 evacuees and volunteers housed in the library and five classrooms.

The school hall took on the appearance of Noah's Ark, accommodating a menagerie of family pets including dogs, cats and birds until they were transferred to Ingham Showgrounds when school resumed.

Worth noticing ... Small Glenore Grove State School collected $228 for fire victims.

Worth noticing ... Small Glenore Grove State School collected $228 for fire victims.

Principal Kevin Wager likened the initial days as the designated emergency accommodation centre to being in a war zone, with helicopters bearing evacuees and relief workers constantly landing next to the school.

'We are the most logical point for an emergency centre,' he said.

'The school is high and dry, with clear access to the hospital and State Emergency Service (SES) headquarters.'

Mr Wager, his wife Wendy, local council and SES personnel looked after the evacuees for the first two days before the Salvation Army and Red Cross moved in to help.

Mr Wager then took on the role of landlord, ensuring the facilities were protected while providing an essential service for those in need.

'The Salvation Army looked after food preparation from the home economics block and the Red Cross looked after people management,' he said.

'Even when the evacuees were moved to the showgrounds, the Salvation Army continued cooking at the school and ferrying the food.'

Mr Wager praised his students who went on to raise $1800 for the Victorian bushfire victims mainly through Valentine's Day sales of chocolates and flowers and a free dress day.

'That's not a bad effort for students affected by a flood.'

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Helping fire and flood victims

The slogan "Give until it hurts" helped Caloundra State High School raise $7600 for the victims of the Victorian bushfires.

Deputy principal Gary Hay said this was five times more than the school population had ever raised.

'We did this through straight donations by highlighting personal stories from the bushfire devastation at assembly over a week.

'It became a social exercise in which the students assessed the value of money and what $1 meant to them and what it could mean to others.

'On average our 1200 students donated more than $6 each,' Mr Hay said.

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Fun raising funds

Fired up ... Rockhampton State High School students raised $2000 for fire and flood victims with their sausage sizzle.

Fired up ... Rockhampton State High School students raised $2000 for fire and flood victims with their sausage sizzle.

Sausage sizzles were a popular fundraiser for fire and flood victims. Rockhampton State High School raised $2000 and Calamvale Community College students, with the help of local business donations, collected $5000.

Two North Lakes State College students raised $7000 for the bushfire victims through a combination of pizza days, free dress days and sausage sizzles.

In four days of collections and a "cool colours" free dress day, Pomona State School students collected $1892 for the bushfire victims while the small Glenore Grove State School, between Ipswich and Toowoomba, donated $228.

Jimboomba State School students raised $1110 with their free dress day and Caloundra City School raised $1700 in the same way for the Premier's Flood Appeal.

 

 

 

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Showing some heart

Queenslanders were shocked by the devastation and loss of life caused by the bushfires in Victoria and the destructive flooding created by Cyclone Ellie in our state's north earlier this year.

Generous school communities across the state rallied to help, donating more than $33,000.

Even those isolated in the flood zone were quick to offer support, raising money for fire victims, becoming evacuation centres or being students' link to the outside world.

Gayndah State School students showed they had "real heart" when they raised $660 for the bushfire victims.

The school population of 230 students from Prep to Year 7 formed a large yellow heart shape on the school oval.

Gayndah State School principal Kelly Jeppesen said the "show some heart" campaign involved the students wearing their yellow heart creations, each with a message of hope.

'The students adopted yellow as the theme colour as it symbolises the country fire service,' Ms Jeppesen said.

'The children, families and local community members all gave what they could and the donations ranged from $1 to $50,' she said.

'It was truly a community effort.'

This generosity was mirrored throughout Queensland with state school communities donating more than $33,000 to the victims of both the bushfires and the floods.

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Footnote

State schools in the north, north-west and far north have almost recovered from February's flood damage.

Carpets have been dried out and electrical fittings checked.

North Queensland Region Executive Director Vicki Baylis said flood damage was limited to low lying storage areas and grounds and sporting equipment.

Several small schools in the Ingham, Giru and Urandangi areas were affected.

'Some schools had water lapping at the classroom steps but as most are double storey and constructed on high ground they were spared,' Ms Baylis said.

'Damage was promptly repaired. Emergency services and QBuild moved in quickly to dry out carpet and conduct electrical circuit testing to ensure the schools were safe.'

In the far north 10 schools that were damaged internally by leaking roofs or water running through buildings have been repaired.

Affected schools are waiting on the delivery of new furniture to replace water-damaged items.

Far North Queensland Regional Executive Director Clive Dixon congratulated teachers and principals for keeping schools "open for business" in difficult circumstances.

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