The Archibull Prize give rural students the opportunity to get a taste of the diversity of tertiary education pathways

The Picture You in Agriculture team is committed to equal opportunity leading to equal outcomes.  As part of this committment we support students in rural and urban students  to have hands on opportunities to get a taste of diversity of careers on offer in the agriculture sector.

In November 2019 with the support of the principal of the newly announced Richmond Agricultural College – Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education rural students from Wee Waa High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School who participated in The Archibull Prize visited Western Sydney University .

Students and teachers from Lake Cargelligo Central School (L) and Wee Waa High School (R) with their Archies

The visit to Western Sydney University was a highlight in a year of deep and diverse learning experiences for these students as part of  The Archibull Prize. This innovative and fun program engages secondary school students in agricultural and environmental awareness through art, design, creativity and teamwork. It is known for its vibrant life-sized fibreglass cows (the Archies), which can be seen anywhere from the offices of politicians to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. In November each year The Archibull Prize concludes with a presentation and awards day. This is what is generally known about The Archibull Prize.

What is not so well known is the capacity of the program to bring together urban and rural communities in a collaborative manner. This year students from Wee Waa High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School, in northern and western NSW respectively, packed up their Archies and drove to Sydney for the awards ceremony.

“It was certainly a different experience transporting the Archie in the horse float that is usually designated to transporting the schools show steers to various shows around the country,” laughs Wee Waa teacher Verity Gett.

Hosting the rural students, in the unfamiliar urban environment, were fellow Archibull participants from Hurlstone Agricultural High School.

“Hurlstone Agricultural High School was excited to be able to host both schools and Western Sydney University (WSU) partners were very supportive of the visit and facilitated a tour for the students and staff.” Kris Beazley Principal of recently announced Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education    

And so the visit became more than The Archibull Prize. Students also had the opportunity to attend an ABC Heywire workshop, meet celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis and to make a special presentation at the awards ceremony.

The Heywire workshop and interaction with Young Farming Champions was another highlight.

“The students really enjoyed working with the Young Farming Champions in the workshop from ABC and came up with some interesting stories. They are now considering entering their own story in the Heywire Storytelling competition.” Lake Cargelligo teacher Tara-Jane Ireland

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Students and Young Farming Champions came together for a story tellling workshop with  ABC Heywire

Emma Ayliffe was the Young Farming Champion working with Lake Cargelligo Central School as they studied the Australian grains industry through The Archibull Prize and she welcomed the opportunity to strengthen her association with the students in Sydney.

“It was wonderful listening to their experiences at the Heywire workshop and watching their stories develop. And it was great to see friendships develop between Lake Cargelligo and Wee Waa students as they realised their similarities and connections. I hope to continue my relationship with them beyond the Archies.” Emma Ayliffe Young Farming Champion

Following the Heywire workshop students travelled to Western Sydney University

“At the WSU Farm and precinct students had the opportunity to understand the interaction in the peri-urban landscape between urban development and agricultural production. They were also able to see all elements of the university’s water management systems in action.”

“The students were then treated to a visit to the University’s world class glass house facility, to witness several scientific plant experiments including the growing of different cultivars of eggplant and pollination with native bees.” Kris Beazley Principal Richmond Agricultural College – Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education

At the university students were able to explore the campus and ask questions regarding tertiary studies, learning that these days there are multiple pathways to university or TAFE entrance beyond the traditional ATAR scores.

For many of the students it was their first trip to Sydney and traffic, public transport, the boarding house and the sheer number of people proved eye-opening.

“They were fascinated by the facilities at the Hurlstone Agricultural High School campus, particularly the kitchen and dining facilities which are bigger than our Food Technology room,” Tara-Jane says.

Finally it was time for the awards ceremony and the day was opened with an Acknowledgement of Country by Lake Cargelligo student Brooke Kirby.

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Lake Cargelligo student Brooke Kirby opened The Archibull Prize Awards Ceremomy with an Acknowledgement of Country .

“Brooke was very nervous,” Tara-Jane says, “but proud to represent her school and culture at such a big event.”

For their Archibull project Lake Cargelligo Central School was highly commended for their infographic while Wee Waa High School was highly commended for their Archie Artwork.

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“The awards ceremony was a great event, with so much excitement in the room and so much inspiration for the future of agriculture and farming, despite challenges like climate change and drought,” Verity says. “It was very exciting for our students to meet and speak to Costa and we are looking forward to skyping him one day from our school farm and maybe getting him out here to visit. Overall it was a great opportunity for our small rural school to be involved in such a program and we are very proud to have received highly commended (or second place!) in the artwork section for our Archie ‘Chronibull’.”

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Both Wee Waa High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School are grateful for the Sydney experience and in particular the hospitality from Hurlstone Agricultural High School and Western Sydney University .

This story first appeared in The Land 

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Hear more from teachers and students at Wee Waa and Lake Cargelligo on their Archibull Prize experience

  1. Wee Waa High School share their Archibull Prize experience

2. Wee Waa teachers and students share how the program bought teachers and students and the community together to build drought resilience

3. Lake Cargelligo Central School teacher Tara-Jane Ireland shares the breadth of experiences The Archibull Prize offers

 

4. Students from Lake Cargelligo Central School share their deep learnings with the art judge Wendy Taylor

 

Beaudesert State High School are using their win in 2019 Archibull Prize as a microphone for agriculture’s new voices   

Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business.

Beaudesert Statw High School with Costa

Each year the world looks forward to the creative talents of the entire Beaudesert State High School as they bring quirky and imaginative angles to The Archibull Prize competition. Their 2019 entry was no exception. Representing Australia’s dairy industry their Archie, Hope, incorporated real bovine bones, braille, a cut-out Herringbone dairy and a robotic milking arm. It earned Beaudesert the title of Grand Champion Archibull and has opened the door to allow agriculture’s new voices to amplify their impact.

Watch the moment when the Beaudesert State High School students and teachers find out they have won The Archibull Prize 2019

Beaudesert’s 2019 Archibull journey was a collaboration between students, teachers, industry and community, and epitomises the ethos it take takes a village to raise a child.

Highly effective schools have high levels of parent and community engagement. ‘Community’here includes parents, business and philanthropic organisations, and various services and not-for-profit organisations. Rather than being set apart from the rest of the community, the school is now often seen to be its hub. The community, in turn, is seen as an important source of resources and expertise for the school.  Source

At the helm was agriculture teacher Laura Perkins.

“We’ve always had support from the community but each year it gets bigger and bigger and this year it was like a snowball that turned into an avalanche. We had Subtropical Dairy and Dairyfields Milk Suppliers (DFMSC) supporting us. We had Dovers – a local machinery group, we had Hillview Primary School  and the council have been amazing.

We got a letter from the Hon. Scott Buchholz MP offering his congratulations to the school and he made a comment how the Archibull was the talk of the town.

We had our own Facebook page and the support on that was superb. The Beaudesert Times were fabulous online and in print and some of the comments from the community on their Facebook page were amazing.

Local people want to know how we can get the cows out in the community even more.”

250 students worked directly on Hope – designing, painting, soldering and applying the myriad of LED lights. “And that’s not including all these other kids who have been supportive and encouraging, especially in the People’s Choice Award, and took what we were doing home and spread the word,” Laura says.

For Laura the biggest highlight in participating in The Archibull Prize has been working with other faculties in the school with special mention to robotics expert Vincent Kruger and the development of her students, and in particular a vision-impaired girl named Shaye.

“When I first met Shaye she barely raised her head when I said hello to her but now when I ask who would like to do some guest speaking in front of a group she jumps in straight away,” Laura says. “She chose a message to put on our cow in braille and now we have been contacted by Sally Baldwin from Braille House who is going to support this student, and the rest of our school, to learn braille. Shay now wants to get a stick and a guide dog and work herself and not rely on others. But it’s not just her. It is all the other kids as well.

“The confidence the students participating in The Archibull Prize have developed is amazing. They speak fluently. They think before they say things and they are very exact in what they say.”

This confidence is manifesting itself as a promotion of agriculture, which has been consolidated by winning the Grand Champion Archibull trophy. At the conclusion of the Archibull presentation day in Sydney special guest Costa Georgiadis spent time with the Beaudesert students explaining to them the importance of their win. He produced, from a battered canvas bag, a chipped silver Logie and told how this item has helped him share messages important to him.

“I said to my kids that we really need to listen to Costa because he is a clever man,” Laura says. “Our Archibull award is beautiful – it’s a hand painted cow and I’ve always wanted one – but the last thing I want is for this to go to the library and sit behind glass and over time get pushed back a little further because there are newer trophies added.”

BSHS Logie and Archie

“I told our kids ‘our Archibull trophy is not just a trophy. You need to use it as a microphone to let people be aware of what your journey has been and where it is going to take you. If it gets a chip so be it, if it gets a bit not-so-fancy then so be it, but you need to use this now to project your voice.’

This is the start of these kids getting their own voice and talking about their experience and their journey.”

BSHS and Costa

The journey took another step forward when Laura and her students were invited by Brian Cox to present at a Young Dairy Network dinner in December.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to get the kids started and give them momentum. And it also gives us something positive to hear about. As dairy farmers we can get stuck in our own worlds and routines so having the youth come along gave us some energy. They all spoke confidently and were comfortable in front of us telling their stories. The students have shown me through The Archibull Prize the dairy industry has the next generation of ambassadors coming through with the communication skills to help the community investigate, analyse and advance other’s understandings of the dairy industry’s commitments to sustainable and ethical practices and this event has inspired me to encourage young farmers within southeast Queensland to present to our group.” says Brian Cox

The Beaudesert Archibull students are taking on leadership roles within the school, with the 2020 school captain also an agriculture student, and are knocking on a multitude of doors. They are looking at opportunities to speak at national dairy conferences, to visit robotic dairies and to partner with industry programs.

“Anything we can connect these kids with is going to be beneficial and this is all because of the Archibull Prize. These opportunities wouldn’t have arisen if we hadn’t done this.” says Laura

And the team behind The Archibull Prize say mega kudos to the entire Beaudesert Community

Consistent findings from the research in Australia and overseas is that strong school-community engagement can bring a range of benefits. These are not only to students but to teachers, schools as a whole, partners and the wider community. For these benefits to occur, school-community partners need to have a shared vision, work in genuinely collaborative ways, and monitor the progress and effectiveness of their partnership activities. Sharing the results of this good practice means others can recognise the important role that community groups can play in supporting education and schools. Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business. Source