AS PART of their Advance 2020 project, Year 9 students at Chaffey Secondary College have expressed appreciation to Mildura’s emergency service organisations for keeping the community safe during the coronavirus pandemic this year, at a ceremony held at the school.
The students presented representatives from Mildura Base Public Hospital, Mildura Private Hospital, Mildura Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Mildura CFA with a range of gifts, including plants and flower pots, hamper baskets and vouchers.
The ‘care-pack’ hampers had been made up by the students in recent months, from products that had been purchased from local businesses.
The generously stocked hampers included chocolates, coffee packs, assorted sweets, cookies, plants and flowers, coffee and ice-cream, vouchers and a myriad of other goodies that were all very well received.
In thanking the students for their kind and thoughtful gesture, Mildura Base Public Hospital CEO Terry Welch said that he was attending on behalf of his entire team.
“I’m here on behalf of a thousand people today to say thank you to you for recognising what they have done,” he said.
“Our teams have done an amazing job, including the Mildura Private Hospital, all of the emergency services providers, police, ambulance and fire brigade to really work with the community to keep everyone safe.
“During the COVID pandemic the community’s spirit has shone so brightly because we have all been in it together – an expression that has been used a lot, but if we weren’t in it together we were never going to beat COVID.”
Also attending the presentation, Mildura Private Hospital CEO Marcus Guthrie said that the care-packs were a wonderful gesture.
“A large gesture like this is really amazing and we are very grateful,” he said.
“As Terry said when the pandemic hit, both the public and private hospitals had to work closely together to get through this and I can proudly say that both hospitals and other health services came together for the betterment of the community – responding quickly.”
Mr Guthrie told the students that he hoped to see some of them working in the health services sector themselves one day.
“We hope to see you in the health system at some point in the future,” he said.
“Whether it might be as a nurse, doctor or a chef or in administration, I would really encourage you to have a look at a career in health care it is a rewarding and valuable one.”
Mildura Police Leading Senior Constable Tim Hawson also thanked the students and explained to them what his colleagues had been doing in the last nine months during the pandemic.
“We have had a lot of work to do in conjunction with the hospitals and ambulance and the fire brigade, wearing these masks the whole time to ensure everyone was safe and we have been very fortunate to have been located in the country,” he said.
“This is a really great token of appreciation for what we have all done to keep Sunraysia safe – well done guys, it’s really nice of you – thank you.”
Chaffey College Middle Sub-School Co-ordinator Stacey Armstrong explained the Advance program which she said was available to schools state-wide to undertake.
“Our Year-9 Advance is an elective base subject, which is a state-wide program that schools apply to be part of,” she said.
“The Department of Health and Human Services gives us some funding to enable us to run the project. It has been going at Chaffey for the last 10 years, but in the last two years it has become part of the health and PE faculty and has been reinvented and focussed toward sport.”
Ms Armstrong said that the students come up with all of the ideas and associated structures to complete the project. “In the last two years we have given $10,000 away to local charities from our fund-raising efforts,”she said.
“This year’s students have come up with the initiatives themselves, they actually had different plans at the start of the year, but with COVID, we couldn’t hold their planned events and instead they decided to put together some appreciation packs for our emergency service workers.”
To facilitate this, the students decided to use their ‘Celebration Camp’ funds to support local business and purchased the items for the hampers.
Year-9 student Nikkita Ybanez said the program had been a lot of work to undertake but it was for a worthy outcome.
“It has been a lot of preparation and everyone’s doing their part,” Nikkita said.
“We just wanted recognise what our local emergency services workers do for this community and how big of a part they play in helping the whole community.
“We went out and did the shopping at different stores and shops. We put everything together individually we made up the cookie packs, wellbeing packs and all of the hampers too.”