On Monday 20th June the 2015 VCAL Achievement Awards were held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The Awards were presented by The Hon. James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and attended by Gill Callister, Secretary for Education.
Wangaratta District Specialist School was recognised for two outstanding achievements in 2015 – Past student Matthew Johnson-Begg received the VCAL Student Achievement Award – Foundation Personal Development Skills for his proactive involvement in and contribution to community groups including Meals on Wheels, Clean Up Australia Day, Daffodil Day, Shave for a Cure and the VCAL Award winning Spirit of Christmas pop-up gift shop.
Matthew represented WDSS in many sporting teams, and is a long standing and active member of the Scouts, receiving the Queens Scout Award, presented to him by the Governor of Victoria in 2015. Matthew represented our school in soccer, basketball, cricket and the North-Eastern All Abilities soccer team in the state-wide championships tournament.
Matthew was very proactive in establishing his work placement. He prepared for and obtained his driver’s licence and saved money to buy himself a 4WD ute. This enabled him to drive himself to and from school, and also access his work placement independently 78kms from home.
Matthew was one of 24 students recognised state-wide out of over 23,000 students enrolled in VCAL across Victorian Schools. Matthew graduated with a Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology, and a Certificate II in Automotive Studies (Pre-vocational). He is a confident, empathetic and mature young man - we are incredibly proud to have had Matthew attend WDSS and represent himself and our school so admirably.
Our 2015 VCAL team of Rosie O’Brien, Jodie Webb, Ash Pearson and Lea Ashton were also recognised along with Ali Alexander and Shane Crispin in the category of VCAL Partner Achievement Award – Workplace Learning for the well-known James’ Place pop-up restaurant program.
The partnership enabled VCAL students to design, prepare and deliver a unique restaurant experience for the local community at a reasonable price. This initiative was recognised as an innovative training and skills transfer program which was developed in partnership with Café the PreVue and The Centre for Continuing Education Wangaratta. Participating students had the opportunity to develop teamwork, cooperation, hospitality experience and take part in various industry visits around the local area where students had the opportunity to engage with industry experts.
Students were able to log more than 60 hours of Structured Workplace Learning which included a four star dining experience to broaden their understanding and knowledge of fine dining. This partnership is indicative of the positive relationships and support we enjoy from our local and wider community which only serve to improve outcomes for all our students.
We are so pleased to be able to count these people amongst our staff, and could not be prouder of their achievements.