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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2150

Mr ANTHONY SMITH (9:43 AM) —I recently had the honour of attending a special assembly of students and parents at Monbulk College in the electorate of Casey. The assembly was held to publicly recognise the efforts and achievements of students in year 7, the first year of secondary schooling, all the way through to those year 12 students completing their VCE. Monbulk College is a large secondary school in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges, meeting the educational needs of hundreds of local teenagers. Its students live not only in the township of Monbulk but throughout the ranges and beyond—Sassafras, The Patch, Emerald, Gembrook, Kalorama and Silvan. The school is bursting at the seams with enthusiastic and talented young people engaged in an array of academic, cultural, artistic and sporting activities. I say `talented' because the assembly commenced with an entertaining musical item performed by four of the school's senior students.

Before a large crowd of extremely proud parents, friends and relatives on a Friday afternoon, Monbulk principal Pam Glover, with the help of assistant principals Peter Escreet and Sarah Livingston, introduced over 100 students who were chosen as significant achievers to date throughout the school year. Each student received a certificate recognising their achievements across a range of subjects. Academic performance was one factor in their selection. However, importantly, so too were effort and achievement.

I wish to commend the students. Indeed, I wish to commend the whole school on its focus on recognising individual effort and achievement. All those present on the day, and the wider college student body, could only be motivated by the great results achieved so far and by the students' very wide smiles. I am sure the school's focus on recognising effort and achievement and in encouraging students to do their very best will lead to many positive benefits in the future. The recognition provided to students halfway through the academic year was very sensible. It shows that the school is thinking ahead and trying to encourage students at every part of the year. It will encourage them in their efforts as they head towards the end of the academic year, particularly for the VCE students.

We all know here that for young people sometimes the simplest of rewards, the simplest recognition that their efforts are appreciated, can be hugely motivating. I hope that many of the students recognised late last month move into a lifetime of maintaining a truly positive outlook, always aiming to do their best. Others I am sure would have been inspired for the first time to find and build on that motivation, to know that if they work hard and do their very best they can achieve results. I think that this part of learning is very crucial at a school level and is as important as academic learning itself. I want to congratulate all of the students and, again, the principal, Pam Glover, and the dedicated parents. (Time expired)