Groundsman Eddie Bird with students, from left, Mathew Byl, Logan O’Neale and Luke Fairbrother work on the outdoor nature classroom. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ELISA VORSTER
elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

Whareama School is showing New Zealand it’s the little country school that could by taking out the top prize in the Good Deeds Initiative competition.

The competition aimed to find the top school performing good deeds for its community through various projects.

As the winner, the school received $5000 to enhance its existing projects, as well as a working bee by around 10 volunteers from Rabobank and NZME’s The Country, which was behind the competition.

The school had been working hard all year to complete several student-led initiatives which aimed to enhance the environment and natural resources of the school, impact the school and community, and create some “cool” learning environments outside.

Principal Darren Kerr said his school was set apart from the rest as most of the other entries reflected projects undertaken by the adults in the community.

“Ours was a little bit different because we had all the kids working on it.

“That’s what won it for us.”

The school’s entry asked for help with its ongoing projects, which included building two large raised vegetable gardens, an outdoor classroom with a desk wrapped around a tree, a tree house, a BMX track and an in-ground trampoline.

The students had also formed a group to reduce rubbish and waste in the school.

Although the students had made impressive headway, progress had stalled due to lack of funds and necessary manpower.

The students had worked hard rallying for funds and volunteers, but Kerr said the prize money would mean the projects could now go from “good projects to excellent projects”.

“We sat down with the kids and did a full review of what’s worked and what hasn’t and made a wish list.

“We can now buy the stuff they need.”

The wish list includes hiring a digger to dig a hole for the in-ground trampoline, buying bikes and a storage shed to complement their self-built mountain bike track, a sprinkler system to water their garden during the holidays and a better composting system to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The Rabobank volunteer team will join Whareama School to complete work on their projects on November 30.



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