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FAR Out! has a total of 39 trips under its belt. The most recent, to the Tenterfield region, was one that reminded us of all the reasons why this program is so valued – both by the schools we visit, and us as presenters.
The students we met “on the road” were some of the most inspiring we had encountered in the state; their teachers supportive and enthusiastic, their parents and communities engaged and encouraging.
All schools we met gave us a “we love our job” thrill of pleasure, however our experience in Drake distilled what makes the FAR Out! experience one all the Learning Services team treasures. We found such reward not only in the gratitude expressed by teachers, parents, community members and students who participated, but also in being able to see just how far FAR Out! actually reaches.
The school from Mummulgum had travelled the extra distance to Drake (we held other sessions during the visit that were closer to their town) to participate in the program as the Principal was conscious that her students and teachers had not yet had the opportunity to connect with this neighbour. In addition to the students being able to see history “come to life” through the extraordinary artefacts, she saw our visit as a way of connecting her students and teachers to others in their area, building stronger community ties. This sense of the social role of FAR Out! was also palpable when we visited Tabulam Public School, who hosted Bonalbo Public School and Old Bonalbo Public School, the following day. The students from these different communities knew each other and the teachers from across all three schools. The strength of community in these areas is potent, and the schools supported and encouraged by their families, community and community leaders. Whilst many schools we visit on our trips are disadvantaged in terms of access to resources and “big city” experiences, we are often left feeling quite envious of the strength of community, and beautiful environment in which these students are so fortunate to grow up.