Local honours in Children’s University graduation

Westerway Primary School students Thomas Joseph and Abbie-
Louise Pennicott opening the 2019 Children’s University graduation.

LOCAL participation in Children’s University Tasmania continues to grow, with 19 Derwent Valley youngsters taking part in last week’s annual graduation. Two were given the special honour of taking part in the official opening.

“It was great to see so many children from primary schools in the Derwent Valley graduating at the 2019 Children’s University Tasmania ceremony held on November 14,” Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (D’FAT) facilitator Matt Hill said. “This graduation ceremony was held at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus,” he said.

Children’s University Tasmania was launched in 2015 through the Peter Underwood Centre at the University of Tasmania. Based on a British initiative, it aims to enhance students’ academic achievements and increases their ambitions to learn. 

Some 244 southern children celebrated their graduation last week, including students from Glenora District School, Westerway Primary School and New Norfolk Primary. Home-school student participants were also included.

The 19 Derwent Valley participants included two from New Norfolk Primary, five from Glenora District School, 10 from Westerway Primary and two home-schooled students. There was also a big contingent from Bothwell District School in the Central Highlands.

Mr Hill said 12 of the Derwent Valley graduates had attended and participated in Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (D’FAT) validated learning activities.

Due to the increase in the number of participants, the graduation was split into two sessions. Derwent Valley and Central Highlands children took part in the morning ceremony, which saw Westerway students Thomas Joseph and Abbie-Louise Pennicott given the honour of opening the proceedings.

“Thomas has participated in many of D’FAT’s Children’s University activities and is a member of D’FAT’s Lego League team,” Mr Hill said.

“Since 2018, D’FAT has been an official public learning destination for Children’s University Tasmania, which is operated by The Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment, University of Tasmania [and] is also supported by Communities for Children – South East Tasmania, The Salvation Army,” he said.

Bothwell District School’s Children’s University graduates.

Children’s University Tasmania helps develop children into adaptable, lifelong learners by providing learning activities outside the classroom, and building bridges to employment and higher education. It has close to 900 active members in 42 schools around the state.

The graduation events saw the participating students, in full graduation regalia, led by a pipe band and joined by academics for a procession through the heart of the Sandy Bay campus, ahead of ceremonies at the Stanley Burbury Theatre. Both ceremonies were attended by the Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner, and UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black.

Children’s University Tasmania was launched in July 2015 and is now working with 32 schools statewide and has more than 750 active participants. Each member is issued with a Passport to Learning, in which hours of activity at validated Learning Destinations are recorded.

Local Learning Destinations include the Derwent Valley Concert Development Band,
Derwent Valley PCYC, Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (D’FAT) and TygaFM Radio.

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