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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7868


Mr GILES (Scullin) (16:31): On 10 August I had the great pleasure of visiting Thomastown Secondary College, a school that's very dear to me, to celebrate their involvement in the CSIRO STEM in Schools week. I thank the assistant principals, John Retica and David Smith, for showing me around and looking after me so well, as well as all the amazing students there. I made two promises to the students: firstly, to come to Canberra and wear their school scarf, which was very useful on this morning's minus four degrees—I am not wearing it in the chamber but it is with me; and secondly, to talk about what an impression the visit made on me. I want to highlight in this place the great strength of this school community, demonstrated by having so many alumni return to the school as teachers in other capacities. I want to talk about the strength it shows in its great diversity, with almost all the nations of the world represented and working together. What an antidote to words spoken and deeds done emanating out of this building!

I also want to talk about the amazing work done in the STEM class, overseen by teacher Julie George, collaboration and problem solving amongst this diverse group of students. I found it simply inspirational. It presented to me and hopefully all of us not only a great example but also a challenge to recognise the work that our students are doing in secondary school in building themselves up for future lives and the future workforce. The challenge for us is to make sure we do our job in enabling every school for individualised learning facilitated by needs based funding that all of our kids deserve.