High achievers given educational boost
Westport High School students in the Year 7 High Achievers class are thoroughly engrossed in examining the future of Port Macquarie.
They are working with 4th and 5th Year medical students from the University of NSW Rural Clinical School located in Port Macquarie.
The project was the inspirational idea of 5th year medical student Melinda Choy, who wanted to provide school students with the opportunity to excel in their education while hopefully encouraging them to aspire to attend university.
She approached one of her supervisors Dr David McDonald and before long 20 medical students had committed their time to helping the Year 7 students.
Choosing an idea for the project was a balance between the school curriculum, the interests of the Westport High students and the expertise of the university students.
The final topic â€˜Our Vision for the Futureâ€™ focuses on Port Macquarie and addresses several areas of the curriculum including Geography, History, Mathematics and Science, with various teachers across the school actively supporting the project.
Karen Mann, Westport High Schoolâ€™s Gifted and Talented Coordinator has been working closely with Melinda Choy, ensuring the university students feel welcome and supported in their role.
The university students are giving up their time to visit the school for one hour every Wednesday afternoon throughout Term 2.
They work, usually one on one with their mentee, researching and refining their chosen project. Individual research topics include: heritage of Port Macquarie; how the growing population of Port Macquarie will affect the hospital; the impact of introduced species; destruction of habitat â€“ mangroves; and the dolphins of Port Macquarie.
All students are contributing to a class Wiki which can be found at http://ourvisionforthefuture.wikispaces.com/ and will be publicly open once the projects are finalised.
The Year 7 students are excited about having individual assistance and getting to choose a topic of their own interest. However, the most compelling reason for their work is the idea that it may be useful to determining the future of Port Macquarie and that a real audience will be viewing their work.
The wiki has already had over 300 visitors, including some from the east and west coast of the United States of America.
The culmination of the project will be a presentation evening on Monday, June 25 at the UNSW Regional Campus in Port Macquarie where invited guests will view the studentsâ€™ final presentations.
For more information or if you are interested in attending the presentation evening, please contact Karen Mann or Debbie Irwin at Westport High School on 6583 6400.