Three's the magic number

Traralgon College Wakakirri coordinator Toni Callander, VCAL leader Michael Yarde and science teacher Keita Matsumoto have been nominated for national education awards. photograph hayley mills
Traralgon College Wakakirri coordinator Toni Callander, VCAL leader Michael Yarde and science teacher Keita Matsumoto have been nominated for national education awards. photograph hayley mills

Traralgon College has been nominated for three national awards at the prestigious Australian Excellence in Education Awards to be held in Sydney at the weekend.

The school's VCAL program was nominated for an Innovation in Curriculum Design award, the school's Wakakirri program was nominated for Best Co-curricular Program, and senior school science teacher Keita Matsumoto was nominated for the Education Rising Star of the Year.

College principal David Mowbray said the national-level nominations reflected well on the school, describing all three as "pretty cool".

"I think it is a feather in our cap that we have some outstanding individuals and programs in our school that we are proud of," he said.

"This reflects well on what our school is about, where we are going, and what we can do for any student and any family in our community.

"We are up there with the best of the best, and that we are finally able to show our wares, and I think that is something that we might have been a bit shy of in the past, but as we are getting better and better, we are proudly shouting out who we are and what we can do for families and students in the Valley."

Mr Mowbray said the Wakakirri program, facilitated by Toni Callander, had brought a "whole range of diverse kids together over many years".

"It is great recognition for the longevity of the program ... for Toni Callander and the team that she leads externally to bring people together". VCAL leader Michael Yarde said the VCAL program was "primarily a pathway program to engage students that perhaps weren't engaged otherwise".

"By doing things differently, by getting hands on with our learning, by applying our learning, taking it outside and inviting the real world in, we're opening these students up to learning possibilities and the goal is, hopefully, for them to realise, the learning doesn't stop when you leave the school gates, that there is future learning out there for them."

Mr Yarde said it was exciting to be recognised at a national level.

"Students were there working on their small businesses and they got to see that from the planning and organising stage, right through to running them, and then they got to reflect on them and then share in the profits, which was a fantastic experience for some of them, and for others they got to reflect and realise 'where did I go wrong, or perhaps do better?'," he said.

"It's fantastic to be nominated ... for the VCAL pathway to be put front and centre, because I think at Traralgon College we have one of the best, if not the best, VCAL program."

Education Rising Star nominee Keita Matsumoto previously worked as a consultant and became a teacher through the Teach for Australia program.

"I think the work I was previously doing was primarily through the universities and my peers there ... when you are consulting at that level, it is very difficult to understand your impact on the ground and on the day-to-day and on stakeholders," he said.

"Education ... and teaching in particular, is a very direct way to contribute, so that is what I was looking for."

Mr Matsumoto said his nomination reflected where the school was headed. "I think what it really does is reflects the amount of investment the school has on early career teachers and the opportunities that they provide for us to really learn the craft of education," he said.

"We're really excited as Traralgon College to really represent public education in the Latrobe Valley." 

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