7 August 2015

7 August 2015

Thank you to all of our local school leaders, parents and teachers who attended last week’s School Leaders’ Breakfast event during Local Government Week. I think everyone would agree our speaker, Australian adventurer John Cantor, was the perfect choice for our young students. John reminded our more than 170 students from that success can be born through failure and hardship. At the age of 27, John became the first Australian to cross The Brooks Range in Alaska, setting a speed record by crossing the range in 31 and a half days. It took him four attempts over a six year period to finally conquer the 1600km expedition, which is considered one of the most brutal and dangerous in the world. While his first three attempts were unsuccessful, he would not surrender. This theme of resilience shone through his presentation and I hope our local students took some good lessons from this. 

I was also pleased to see such a robust final for the 2015 Mayoral Debate, also held during Local Government Week. Kurri Kurri High School and St Philip’s Christian College students battled out the debate: “That genetic modification of humans is beneficial.” Both presented convincing arguments, however affirmative team from St Philip’s were the winners on this occasion. Thank you to Alison Davey of Cessnock Achievement Centre and Aaron Lewis from Rover Coaches for sponsoring the event again this year. Also, the event would not be possible without the continued support of Judy and David Clark and Janette Jackson, who adjudicate the event.

I was pleased to attend the RH Dougherty Awards on Thursday 6 August as part of the Local Government Week celebrations. The awards are managed by Local Government NSW, and recognise and encourage greater understanding and communication by councils to their local communities. Our Youth Week program was awarded last year for innovation—it’s great to see the hard work that goes into these important community events being recognised. While we didn’t take out any awards this year, I would like to congratulate Council staff involved in the Spring Awakening event and Asian Cup charity football match, both of which were nominated this year in the ‘Innovation in Special Events Award’ category.

Congratulations to our three winners of the Environmental Health colouring in competition for 2015. Ashton Johansen from Rosary Park Catholic School Branxton, Colby-James Clifton from Mulbring Public School and Porsha Burgess from Kearsley Public School Public School all took home prizes for their school. I was thrilled to present these prizes at the school assemblies and I encourage even more of our young students to enter this great competition next year.