Students and staff at Orana Heights demonstrated incredible resilience and flexibility in 2020 as national and global events impacted their lives.
Many families had been affected by the continuing drought and then the bushfire situation over the Christmas holidays was felt by most residents of NSW. As we started the school year on January 29, we were all unaware of the changes to come.
The 10 newly elected Student Representative Council members were inducted in February and began their task of leadership in the school community.
While the way they fulfilled their roles changed during the year, their enthusiasm and commitment did not waiver. They adapted to hosting virtual assemblies, adjusted to fundraising in challenging times and learnt the importance of flexibility.
We are immensely proud of the way the year 6 cohort coped with the unexpectedly different final year of primary school. Representative sport was halted as restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were put in place and the planned overnight excursion to Sydney was cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again.
Fortunately, Stage 3 students enjoyed a day of activities at Wambangalang Environmental Education Centre last term to build memories and enjoy the company of their peers outside the school environment. The debating team, participating in the Premiers' Debating Challenge, were able to continue debating after the Learning at Home period ended.
The challenge aims to develop the public speaking and reasoning skills of students, and the OHPS team excelled in this area as they continued through to the zone final.
Several Stage 3 students pitched their ideas for the Game Changer Challenge.
The design thinking challenge encourages creativity, teamwork and solutions to real world problems. One of our teams, the "Orana Legends", a team of five year 6 pupils, progressed through to the semifinal event.
They attended an intensive workshop, virtually, to learn how to apply the design thinking process to create a tangible solution for the real-world problem, "How might we use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together?" The deep and critical thinking plus creative ideas were evident as they worked to develop an interactive watch.
NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, visited our school in March. She visited classrooms and spent some time discussing Clean Up Australia Day with some Stage 1 students.
The strong welfare system at Orana Heights, underpinned by our PBL values and expectations, was consistently upheld during the year by students and staff.