The first Echuca College Wellbeing Focus Day was held on the 16th of June.  The aims of the focus day were to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for everyone and to promote positive relationships and interactions within the College community.   Activities for the day were organised to support students to have some fun and learn new skills all whilst working with staff and increasing their connectedness to each other and to the College.

Our day started with an upbeat performance from the Indigenous Hip Hop Crew, demonstrating their incredible dance skills and sharing their energy with everyone.  The keynote speaker for the day was Ben O’Toole from the Step Back and Think organisation.  Education is the key to preventing social violence.  Ben shared his personal story and the stories of others, he was a victim of social violence in 2007.  We all gained a greater understanding of the consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator, and learnt how to be better equipped when faced with potential violence.

Students then moved through a number of other workshops focused on overcoming adversity and respectful relationship. Students heard from Thon, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, Thon walked for a month to a refugee camp in Ethiopia at the age of 11.  Thon spoke about being a refugee and the challenges of starting a new life in Australia.

Betul Tuna spoke about life a Muslim woman living in Australia and her efforts to break down the barriers, she openly encouraged questions and freely spoke about her religion and her beliefs.  Damien Stevenson addressed the issues around respectful relationships and the impact words can have on others.  He encouraged all students to mindful of their language to ensure they are not unknowingly offending or upsetting others.

The Indigenous Hip Hop Crew worked with houses to create a dance, students learnt many new dance moves and picked up the combination of moves very quickly.

With the support of Parmalat, Cadell and The Pear Tree students enjoyed free fruit, yoghurt and water for recess.

Students then moved on to their “Workshop of Choice”, workshops ranged from Pilates, Yoga, Fitness, African Bead Making, Skin Care, Mindfulness to Dance and Robotics.  Then it was time for the Echuca College Showcase, a display of the many talented students at Echuca College.  Students who had completed the Music workshops also performed to the whole school, a first time performance for many students.  The talent show was an amazing display of talent with the eventual winners being Emily Watts and Maison Dickson.

During our lunch break we had a number of food vans and activities for students and staff to enjoy.  Students enjoyed human soccer, snookball, “Dunk the Teacher/Principal”, Laser Tag and sumo suits as well as a number of other activities.  Students voted for their favourite piece of art in the art show with Maia Bowald winning the People Choice Award and Leticia Connor Walsh winning the Principal’s Award.  A living mural was also developed during lunch with all our community invited to participate and contribute to the mural, the result looked fantastic. Our Focus Day was well supported by a number of organisations who provided information about support available to them.

Our grand finale for the day was our colour run.  The Colour run was the launch of our campaign for Relay for life, Echuca College will be entering teams in this event to support this great event and compete for the Tony Spizzica schools trophy.  The colour run was an amazing event with all staff wearing a t-shirt with our beloved colleague Tony Spizzica on the front and the words “Music is Life – That’s why our hearts have beats.”  There was lots of colour, lots of smiles and lots of laugh. The colour run was organised by a group of students who attended a leadership day with the Campaspe Shire earlier in the year.

Our Indigenous Hip Hop Crew completed the day with another amazing dance and many of the students who completed the workshop with them also shared their moves with the whole school.  The day came to a conclusion with staff forming a guard of honour and students walked through to say “Thank You” and give each staff member a high five.

It was an amazing day, it demonstrated how strong the Echuca College Community has become.  Our school has wonderful staff and incredible students, when we all work together we can achieve great things.