Last week, 14-18 August, the Year 7 students from Glasshouse Christian College flew to Sydney then coached down to Canberra to enjoy the annual weeklong adventure learning about our nation’s capital and our Democratic Government. The trip ties in with our studies on Civics and Citizenship and also our English/Humanities themed unit ‘The Seat of Power”.
After a very early start on Monday morning, the group arrived in Canberra and settled into the new purpose-built accommodation facility, Canberra Park Resort. Tuesday was another early start as the group headed down to Thredbo to enjoy a day of sightseeing and snow-play. The weather held off long enough for some fun on toboggans, a snowball fight and the building of a very stylish snowman.
On Wednesday, the group awoke to a clear but very cold day and headed into the city for a busy day exploring a range of places starting with Royal Australian Mint and the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House where the students learnt about the history of our government. Then it was off to the National Capital Exhibition to discover how Canberra was developed as our capital city, and later the National Film and Sound Archive. Late afternoon was spent at the Australian War Memorial and we were privileged to join in with the Closing Ceremony with our Year 7s representatives, Olivia Ellis and Mason White, laying a wreath. A freezing trip up Mt Ainslie for a quick view over the city completed a very full day of sightseeing and finding out about our nation’s capital.
The two coach groups headed in opposite directions on Thursday as they swapped from the previous morning with trips again to the Royal Australian Mint and to do the tour of Old Parliament House. Everyone looked forward to Questacon and it didn’t disappoint. The students could have spent more time there exploring all of the different activities – the zero-gravity drop was definitely the favourite. After lunch, it was time to learn about how the students have a voice in deciding who runs our country by exercising our right to vote. Tiredness began to show but was soon forgotten as the group ended the day visiting the AIS and then iPlay, and both venues were ways to have students expend the very last ounce of their energy!
The highlights of the final day were packing up and braving the freezing wind in school uniforms to pack the coaches and head up Black Mountain to Telstra Tower; viewing the whole of Canberra from the warmth of the viewing deck (except for those brave enough to face the fierce wind up on the open deck!); arriving at Parliament House to have Mr Andrew Wallace, our federal MP for Fisher, meet the Year 7 group in the marble foyer and spend time answering questions and going on the tour; tours and play-acting what it’s like to be an MP in the House of Representatives; jumping back on the coaches for the drive back to Sydney; finding out that the airport had closed a runway due to the high winds and there were major delays; being lucky enough not to have our flight cancelled and actually being able to make it home – even if it was hours after our scheduled time back at GCC – after midnight!
What a way to finish our Year 7 Canberra trip! At least I don’t think we will forget it in a hurry. Everyone was so tired and many were sick by then with coughs and colds, so hanging around Sydney airport for about four hours didn’t help. But the students were absolutely wonderful and hung in there.
These are the things memories are made of! Although so many students (and staff) were sick by the end of the trip, I’m sure everyone will have some special fun memories of this trip.
Thanks to all the staff on the trip for the wonderful job they did, looking after all the students – Ms Crase, Mr Follett, Mrs Horrigan, Mrs Vreeling, Mr Modlin, Mrs Morris and Ps Rob. Thanks to all the students for being a great group who behaved so well and should be so proud of themselves for trying so many new things. A big thanks to Ben and Tim our coach drivers and GoOz Tours for their help in organising this trip. And thank you to all the parents and carers for supporting us all – especially for patiently being there so late on Friday to pick up very exhausted children. Thanks, everyone!
A very special thanks to the Australian Government who, without their financial assistance would make it difficult for us to visit Canberra. The Australian Government recognises the importance of all-young Australians being able to visit their National Capital as part of their civics and citizenship education and therefore makes a significant contribution to the cost of the trip.
Tania Calais, Year 7 Coordinator