Students show green thumbs

Colac Secondary College students volunteer at Colac’s Colanda disability centre to help create a garden and a mosaic. College students Tori Hughes, left, and Cassie Tanis are pictured with Colanda resident Tony Vitelli, centre.

COLAC students are planting the seeds of friendship with residents of a Colac disability centre.

A dozen Colac Secondary College students have been visiting Colac’s Colanda once a week this term to plant a vegetable garden and create a mosaic with about 12 of the centre’s residents.

The visits are part of the teens’ Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning personal development and work-related skills studies, which have a community project element.

The students and residents are planting carrots, snow peas, herbs and other vegetables at Opus, Colanda’s day activity centre.

Tori Hughes of Year 11 said she enjoyed working with the residents, despite early nerves.

“At first I was a bit scared of them and now I’m starting to get used to them,” Tori said.

“It’s pretty fun – I started off with gardening and now I’m going in and out with both the gardening and the mosaic,” she said.

“And the staff treat us well, spoil us with coffee and biscuits.”

Opus manager Greg Mayer said the mosaic artwork, featuring the logos of the college and Opus, would hang in Colac’s Queen Street library.

The design also comprises artists’ handprints.

“The Colac Secondary College symbol and the Opus symbol are there to symbolise the collaborative relationship between the school and Opus,” Mr Mayer said.

He said the visits gave students an insight into disability.

“I think they are getting a connection, meeting new people and working alongside them and developing friendships,” he said.

Songs preach anti-violence

Lorne students have written a song as part of a Victorian Government and Mushroom Marketing anti-violence project. Pictured from top left, Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College music teacher John Waller, Department of Justice’s Jennifer Wallen, with bottom row, students Erin Lewis, Tyler Giri and Sammy Bennett.

LORNE students hope to spread a message of anti-violence through a song which will receive radio airplay.

Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College students Erin Lewis, Tyler Giri and Sammy Bennett’s song is part of a Victorian Government and Mushroom Marketing anti-violence initiative.

The students took four weeks to write the tune, This Game We’re Playing, working with musicians such as Pez, Mantra and Dobe Newton to produce a piece about violence and conflict.

The school received copies of the album yesterday.

Melbourne electro and hip hop artist Styalz Fuego recorded the track, along with songs from nine other Victorian schools, for compilation album Words Not Weapons.

College music teacher John Waller said the songwriting process encouraged the teens to discuss the anti-violence issue openly.

“What was most positive and encouraging about this program was seeing so many of the students opening up and talking about the conflict they see in their everyday lives and ways they can overcome it,” Mr Waller said.

Hip hop artist Mantra said the students’ attitude was impressive.

“These kids just attacked it with so much enthusiasm, but also made really considered choices with lyrics, phrasing and storytelling,” Mantra said.

Words not Weapons is part of a Department of Justice Live No Fear program.

The songs are available for download from

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