Loreto Rural Partnership 2017
The Loreto Rural Partnership is an annual immersion program to Dunedoo in western NSW which aims to provide students an opportunity to experience life in a rural country town. The partnership enriches the lives of Loreto Normanhurst staff and students by pushing them out of their comfort zone meeting and interacting with locals. This is at the core of what an immersion experience is.
As such, this past week saw six students from Year 10 travel to Dunedoo to support the local community. They were accompanied by three teachers: Mr Martin Pluss, Mrs Melanie Oxley and Mr Phillip Merchant. The program is a reciprocal relationship between Loreto Normanhurst and St Michael’s Primary School, Dunedoo – the local Catholic primary school with 37 students and a dedicated team of teachers and support staff.
This immersion program aims to provide an extra layer of support to the staff, students and parents of St Michael’s by lending a helping hand in classrooms. It involves the sharing of learning experiences, resources and specific skills including the running of various activities with students. Throughout Term One, the Loreto Normanhurst students have been busy preparing these activities which included coding and mathematics games, science experiments, drama activities, French and Italian lessons and various team sports.
The country hospitality that the people of Dunedoo showed us over the week was incredible. The region around Dunedoo was recently affected by severe bushfires, the effects of which were clearly evident. The first night of our week-long visit saw students and staff volunteering in the Blaze Aid kitchen – preparing a warm meal for the many volunteers who travelled to Dunedoo to assist in the rebuilding of fences damaged by fires.
Other activities over the week included a sheep shearing demonstration, a visit to Coolah Tops National Park, stargazing and visits to local farms to gain a better understanding of cattle studs, grain farming and rural enterprise. These activities were generously organised by Sister Margaret, Principal of St Michael’s, and the Dent family. The broad knowledge and experience from the partnership has given our students an insight into life in rural Australia and in turn, allowed us to share our gifts and talents.
We look forward to welcoming the students and staff of St Michael’s when they travel to Sydney in the June school holidays. They will stay in our Boarding School and will be accompanied by staff and students of Loreto Normanhurst as they live life in the city.
Mr Phillip Merchant