Schools excellent in promoting active travel

St Joseph's and St Sebastian's
Staff from St Joseph's and St Sebastian's celebrate their AST School of Excellence Award

TWO Brisbane Catholic Education schools have been recognised with a shared 2018 School of Excellence Award at the annual Brisbane City Council Active School Travel (AST) Awards.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk presented St Joseph's School, Nundah, and St Sebastian's School, Yeronga, with their shared award for “schools on their second or third year of the program demonstrating ongoing commitment and initiative".

Since 2004, about 160 Catholic, State and Independent schools and more than 104,000 students have participated in the Active School Travel (AST) program which promotes road safety and sustainable and healthy travel options such as walking, cycling, scootering, carpooling and public transport.

The award-winning three-year program offers primary schools across Brisbane a suite of free resources, tools and incentives to enable students, parents, carers and teachers to leave the car at home and actively travel to school.

The aim - to create healthier, more active students and families, increasing road safety awareness, safer streets and continuing to tackle traffic congestion.

St Joseph's School, Nundah and St Sebastian's, who shared the honour, were chosen for their ongoing commitment to the program; their community engagement; implementation of sustainable practices and overall achievements in promoting active travel.  

St Joseph's School was particularly acknowledged for their efforts to link AST to the curriculum, building understanding and skills in relation to road safety and for outstanding social media promotion (including taking over the Cycling Brisbane Instagram Account).  

In her acceptance speech St Joseph's Principal Kerry Latimer said the Active School Travel program has had an extremely positive impact on the whole school community.

“(It's) bringing families together, decreasing traffic congestion around the school and, most importantly, getting kids active, because we all know that active kids learn best," she said.

St Sebastian's School were also recognised with the Greatest increase in active travel Small schools of less than 600 students award. (46 per cent increase from 17 per cent at the start of their program to 63 per cent.)

The school community also received special praise for engagement of their Year 6 students in the use of digital technologies to develop their own school app to record and analyse AST school data.

A representative from St Sebastian's School, accepting the award on behalf of Principal Kerry Weber and the school community, detailed how the students' achievements had not only had a positive within the school, but also had been recognised in the wider community.

When speaking about the reasons for the success of the program, representatives of both schools thanked the Brisbane City Council AST Team and councillors Adam Allan for Northgate Ward and Nicole Johnston for Tennyson Ward for their significant and ongoing support. 

The winning schools were now considering how they could extend their AST programs in 2019 to ensure sustainability long term, as they welcomed St Kieran's School, Brighton, St Anthony's School, Kedron, Sacred Heart School, Sandgate, and St Ambrose School, Newmarket, who were joining the program for the first time. 

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