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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4869

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (10:45): I am pleased to speak in the chamber today about a fabulous development with a program in my electorate that has created a new world of music for students at Meadows Primary School. Recently I had the pleasure of being at the Broadmeadows school when it received $50,000 from the National Australia Bank's Schools First scheme grant for its musical initiative in establishing a partnership with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Meadows Primary School received the grant for creating a program called the Pizzicato Effect, which runs for half an hour every week. Now in its third year, the popular program has taught more than 90 students in grades 2, 3 and 4 about classical music and playing string instruments. I had the pleasure of hearing one of the school's musical presentations and was very impressed by what the students had achieved. Helen Hatzikalis, the school coordinator, said that the program had come about at the school after a chance meeting with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's education outreach manager, Ms Katherine Kerezsi. Of course, for our local community the rest is, as they say, history.

In the 2½ years that have passed since then, close to 300 students have participated in the Pizzicato Effect program. This program is made all the more unique by the fact that Calwell is one of the most socioeconomically challenged electorates in Australia, and the music provided by the students at Meadows Primary School is usually only heard in Melbourne's most exclusive schools. So, when news did break that the school was about to receive a $50,000 grant for its program, Ms Hatzikalis said the school wanted to show the impact it had had on their students and to highlight the progress of their learning. In particular they wanted to highlight the students' instilled sense of self-confidence. Another achievement of the program was that parents had developed a sense of pride in their children for achieving things that they themselves would never have dreamed of providing for them. Parents had seen their children perform at the Melbourne Town Hall with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Their children had visited the Governor of Victoria and had been invited to events they would not ever have thought of attending. Principal Rob Greenacre said he was proud to see everyone coming together to make the program a success.

From my perspective, the program is a testament to the fact that school education needs to offer programs that extend beyond the confines of classrooms and beyond the rigours of pen-and-paper curriculum. Schools need to provide programs that challenge more than just the academic and nurture the development of the whole child, their immediate family and the wider community. The results, as seen at Meadows Primary School in my electorate, speak for themselves. I congratulate the staff and the school for their wonderful dedication and wish all my lovely young students the best of luck as they go through this very valuable program.