Wow, the Eagles have landed and the first week has already passed us by. All hosting students and families greeted our Eagles with squeals of delight and tears of joy on the morning of Saturday 22nd July. After group and family photos the Estancia students headed home with their first host family, to settle in, catch up and have a short rest before attending their first official welcome, a Pot Luck Lunch at Mr Terrill’s. Everyone enjoyed some, before the Eagles introduced themselves and were presented with gift bags.
After some much needed sleep we headed to Ballarat to pat and feed Kangaroos and get up close with a Koala for a photo. This is already one of the highlights of the trip. Sovereign Hill was the next stop. Sovereign Hill depicts Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851. Here, the delegation could pan for gold, try a meat pie, meet the red coat soldiers and explored an underground mine.
Monday 24th was the first official day at school, where the Eagles were introduced to the entire College at both a Junior and Senior School assemblies. Some of the delegation was able to try the beloved Vegemite and I would say this is definitely not a highlight of the trip so far! Students also received their Hoppers Crossing Secondary College jacket, helping them all keep warm during the cold Melbourne winter.
On Tuesday, the delegation headed out to meet the local Fire Brigade and Police Force. This experience allowed the delegation to learn the differences in our emergencies services and those back home. Lunch was supplied by the local Club, The Hoppers Club, the students tried the famous chicken parmigiana, which was loved by all. The end of the day provided the delegation some time together to go over their formal presentation.
Wednesday was a visit to another local school, Wyndham Central College. The delegation completed their first presentation, which was well received. On return to Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, the local newspaper, The Star Weekly, interviewed students and took some photos for a story that will be published in the coming weeks. To finish off the day, the delegation was treated to a History class with Mr Ridley, one of the History Teachers at the College.
Thursday allowed the delegation to visit a local primary school – which includes students from Grades Prep through to Grade 6. The delegation observed the operation of the school and answered questions from the students. Back at Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, the delegation presented to approximately 80 from Year 7 to 12 and answered any questions these students had about the delegation, their school and their way of life in California. Thursday also provided the opportunity for the delegation to attend a scheduled class with their host student and experience the curriculum and teaching style at the College.
Friday the delegation, 14 students from the College and 2 staff members, headed into the CBD of Melbourne. Here we visited ArtVo, a gallery with 3D art, which allowed students to become part of the artwork pieces. Ice-skating at O’Brien Group Arena where Victor felt the ice more than most followed the visit to ArtVo! To finish the day the delegation went out on ‘The Edge’, a glass box that projects out of the side of the Eureka Sky Tower, 88 floors above the ground allowing students to feel as though they are floating above the City of Melbourne! This building is the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Saturday morning started with a two-hour drive down to Phillip Island. Our first stop ‘Amaze n Things’, similar to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but more hands on. Students dared to take on the slide and all participated in the maze challenge. We visited an area called ‘The Nobbies’, walking out on the boardwalk to take some great photos even though it was extremely windy. Later that evening we waited patiently for our little penguin friends to come out of the water and up the beach.
What an amazing first week the delegation have had in Australia!
Ms Kim Firkin – International Programs Coordinator