Students share ideas at mini festival

St Augustine's College, Augustine's Heights

​​​​​St Augustine’s Mini Festival of Ideas brought together students, staff and board members

YEAR 9 Student Voice representatives at St Augustine’s College, Augustine Heights, let their creative juices flow at the inaugural Mini Festival of Ideas.

It led to some great initiatives being pitched to their peers, Principal Graham Meertens, the college leadership team and college board members.

Based on Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE)’s Student Voice Festival of Ideas, the mini festival provided a platform for the St Augustine’s students to have a say in decisions that impacted their educational experience at the college.

Mr Meertens said there was plenty of creativity, enthusiasm and fun in the room. 

“It was inspirational to listen to the students’ initiatives,” he said.

“They really put forward some great ideas and got the leadership team thinking.

“It’s been very affirming.”

Just like their counterparts in the BCE Student Voice Team, the Year 9 Student Voice representatives felt when students are empowered and given the opportunity, they can develop great ideas to help shape a student-focused education system within the college. 

The representatives wanted to make sure the voices of all students were being heard by key decision makers in the college.

In the lead up to the mini festival they worked on eight ideas around five strategic areas - built environment, literacy, pedagogy, pastoral care and Religious Life of the School.

All eight ideas were based on feedback gathered from all students and included building a connection between learning and real life, addressing mental health issues through a wellbeing centre and organising a “multifest” to celebrate diversity at the college.

During the festival groups of students along with members of the college leadership team and board rotated through the eight idea stations to hear each pitch.

Mr Meertens said they listened carefully and gave the student presenters lots​ of feedback​.

He said some of the ideas the students presented would end up being part of the college’s strategic direction going forward.

Student consultants Aaliyah Valas, Evie Nisiriou and Lincoln Hetherington said having their voices heard helped bring positive changes for all students. 

“As students we know what we feel needs improving in our school,” they said.

“But we don’t always get our voices heard in everyday situations at school.

“Having these events allow us to raise our voices and get across what we think will benefit us in our education.”

St Augustine’s Year 9 pastoral leader Joe Cryle said every student was involved in the festival in some capacity.

Mr Cryle said the festival aimed to give students a chance to be heard and build a culture of empathy and thrust.

“What we want every student to feel, ultimately, is that they are connected here and that the adults are listening to them, Mr Cryle said.

“It doesn’t mean we do exactly what they say all the time, but it does mean that we are listening to them,” he said.

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