Students pledge to stay in school

By Liz Mellino

It was a day of commitment at Shepparton High School yesterday, with Year 10 students signing a charter and pledging they would stay in school to further their education.

As part of this year’s Beacon program, students came together to sign the charter at the school as a commitment to their career journeys and to mark the start of their next chapter.

Now in its 11th year, the program aims to link students with businesses in the community to ensure they have the best chance for success in the future.

‘‘The Beacon program is about linking business and community to our school to give students the opportunities to explore the world of work,’’ career practitioner and Beacon co-ordinator for Shepparton High School Mary-Ann Linehan said.

‘‘It’s quite an involved program and we have really built our community partnerships over the past 11 years to give our students these opportunities.’’

Year 10 students complete a range of activities throughout the year, with the Beacon charter signing the first formal event.

Ms Linehan said during the year students would complete activities such as mock interviews, speed careering and a work readiness program.

‘‘It gives them all these experiences before they choose what subjects they have to do ... students just don’t know what they want to do and they don’t need to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives,’’ she said.

‘‘Now is the time that they need to explore and find out what’s in our local community.’’

Four past students returned to the school to speak at the signing, sharing their experiences with their career pathways through La Trobe University and onto employment.

Year 10 Beacon student ambassador Gemma Voumard was pleased to be part of the program, which had shown her anything was possible in her future through hard work and perseverance.

‘‘I think it’s a really good program because some people may not have the support as other students do so by doing this program every student has an equal chance of bettering their schooling for the future,’’ she said.

’’Everyday is a learning curve and by doing this charter signing today we learnt the stories of people who may not have had everything but they still got there and that’s what I think really stuck out to me.’’