Students' gift of learning
BEFORE heading off on holidays, Tewantin State School pupils have been focusing on brightening the lives of children less fortunate than themselves.
During the busy school term, students spent time carefully preparing shoeboxes filled as educational care packages.
It was a special sight as hundreds of pupils presented boxes at their assembly last Monday, lining the front of the room nearly 10 boxes high.
An annual tradition for Tewantin, the school's contribution will be part of the 2000 shoeboxes donated from four Sunshine Coast schools.
Students, teachers and parents came together to source exercise books, rulers, erasers, pens and pencils to send to Sao Miguel (St Michael) school, 30 minutes west of Dili.
Sao Miguel educates kindergarten and primary students and provides basic educational supplies to surrounding schools in need, however it receives no government funding.
Tewantin principal Rob Jennings said his school was delighted to be involved with the program.
"It's been great for all students to get involved and give something back again this year,” Mr Jennings said.
"Our student leaders have been actively involved with the project and all our students have had a ball putting the care parcels together.
"Every shoebox was personally decorated.
"Each student is also enclosing something small of theirs, such as a soft toy or a tennis ball - it will add something simple but personal to each box.”
In a speech to the pupils, deputy principal Sheldon Boland explained the value of their generosity.
The program is run with funding and support from Bendigo Bank, Rotary and Noosa Van Lines, ensuring the boxes arrive safely at Sao Miguel.
Bendigo Bank's Tewantin manager John Hague said the project continued to build on something special.
"We're proud to share in a project that gets educational material to where it's need- ed most,” Mr Hague said.
Students now look forward to seeing footage of the East Timorese children opening their shoeboxes when they return after the school holidays.