Student Representative Council Elections

Student Representative Council Elections

Dapto High encourages students to reflect on the nature of living in a democracy as part of civics and citizenship education at the school. Good schools have good student leaders by providing plenty of opportunities for developing leadership skills.

For the last three years our Student Representative Council (SRC) has been elected by the students. The process is run very formally by the current SRC with resources supplied by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The students practically learn about how elections work including preferential voting in this process. There are many candidates who stand for the 24 positions available.

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The SRC are leading another initiative in the ‘Nurturing Democracy’ program later in the term by hosting a forum for all candidates contesting the seat of Whitlam. This will be the third time such a panel has occurred prior to a federal or state election and is an invaluable opportunity for students to ask questions about policy of the candidates.

Thanks to the team of Year Advisors who support the students. Special thank to the SRC Collaborators – Ms Jones and Mr Trist – who make the day work and Ms Robbins-Harvey who does much of the administrative and statistical work counting votes with a team of mathematicians.

Good luck to all the candidates. The principal will announce the new SRC team in coming weeks, along with captains and prefects.

Harmony Day @ DHS

Harmony Day @ DHS

Harmony Day, as it says at the website, “celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. It is a day for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and to share what we have in common.”

The central message for Harmony Day is that ‘everyone belongs’, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians.

Thanks to Ms Jessup and all of the local community groups who came to our school to celebrate and share food, laughter and life.

Visit from Shanghai Xiangming Junior Middle School

Visit from Shanghai Xiangming Junior Middle School

Dapto High has a flourishing exchange program and this presents students and families with opportunities to make new friends, learn about other cultures and make international contacts.

The students and staff really enjoyed hosting Shanghai Xiangming Junior Middle School for two days this week.

Our student ambassadors were magnificent and the teachers who volunteered to run special lessons had designed truly enjoyable learning experiences for our guests. The students had science, agriculture, marine biology, chemistry, design and history lessons. They also learnt to throw a boomerang and listened to the didgeridoo.

Next Year

Students and families currently have an opportunity to travel to Italy or Korea next year and anyone interested should email or for more information.


Student Principal for a Day – Taylor Glover!

Student Principal for a Day – Taylor Glover!

What is leadership to you?

Leadership uniquely, is a dynamic term which can be defined in over 10,000 ways. Acting as student principal for the day, I realised the diversity of the word and how it can be altered in certain situations.

For example, working in the morning with the principal, Mr Fitzsimons saw me talking with numerous staff and students, becoming aware of obscurities around the school, and observing the procedures of a regular day.

I then spent some time with the highly esteemed Mrs McGregor, where I discussed leadership and improvements for Dapto High School with her year 7 English class.

The sanctuary then facilitated the current captains and I where we conversed about their experiences in the SRC, both good and bad.


So having experiences today from the perspective of a principal, a teacher and a student; I have come to realise the importance of leadership in our school.

If you are currently in Year 10 and are keen about leadership, feel free to talk with me about my experience today because I highly recommend participating in this opportunity next year!

Consider this, “IF NOT ME, WHO? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” – Emma Watson
-Taylor Glover

The new SRC has been democratically elected

The new SRC has been democratically elected

The Student Representative Council for 2015-16 has been democratically elected.  The system is modeled on our federal processes and voters must number every box. This is only the second time the school has held an election in this way.

Thanks to the current SRC – led by Ms Jones, Mr Trist and Ms Harvey – who were the officials and counted the votes. The students did a professional job again and there was a good maths lesson or two conducted while counting the votes and working out the preferences. For some of the current SRC this is the second time they have been the officials which made the polling run smoothly.

The students, from Year 7-11, are also to be congratulated for the way they conducted themselves during the process. It is an authentic experience of voting, almost identical to what will be experienced when they turn 18 and vote in federal elections. The students learn a great deal about democratic processes as they not only stand for election and vote but also run the process and count the votes.

Congratulations to the following students who have been democratically elected by their peers:

Captains: Taylor Glover and Sean Hood

Vice Captains: Ben White and Shania Fogg

Prefects: Lance Loach; Connor Faughlin; Beau Davis; Shaun Hitchcock; Haydn Lebon; Taylor Aylett; Madeline Daffara; Rhianna Tynan; Anastacia Rowles; Chloe Fenton

Year 10: Paige Jones; Tanniah Kwan; Jordan Brocklesby; and Sooraj Raja

Year 9: Bridget Hennah and Luke Pirangi

Year 8: Jake Attwell and Holly Cross

Year 7: Madison Brown and Patrick O’Connor

The parents, carers and grandparents of the students elected will be invited to the SRC induction ceremony at the school on Thursday, 23rd July at 8.30am.

Shellharbour Forum

Shellharbour Forum

Active and informed citizens…are committed to national values of democracy, equity and justice, and participate in Australia’s civic life.     Melbourne Declaration

The Student Representative Council (SRC) hosted a forum today for the candidates seeking election to the state electorate of Shellharbour where our school is located. The event was packed, attended by all senior students, as part of our ongoing Nurturing Democracy Program.

The Greens, Liberal and Labor candidates engaged positively in a clash of ideas that highlighted the different ideological positions of the parties very effectively for the students, some who will vote for the first time in this election, to be held Saturday 28th March in NSW.

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The process for the forum was as follows:

  1. The moderator explains the goals and process to the audience while introducing the panel
  2. Each candidate has a maximum of 3-minutes to outline his or her vision for Shellharbour
  3. Each candidate has 1-minute to make a point and ask another candidate a question.
  4. There is a 1-minute response time for each question
  5. The moderator calls for questions from the audience to candidates
  6. Response time would be 1-minute
  7. The candidates make a 1-minute closing statement
  8. The students then mingle with the candidates at morning tea to ask more questions
  9. Students debrief with staff and family in the lead-up to the state election

The students had some great questions:

Corey: What do you see as the major practical and ideological differences between the Greens, Liberal and Labor?

Gretel: Domestic violence is a major issue for our community that needs strategies to minimise the risks facing women and children in particular. What services and initiatives are you going to implement to protect women and children in the community?

Rhys: The Illawarra has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Australia. How do you plan to fix it?

Sean: Youth unemployment is a major issue in our state, but aged unemployment is also a clear problem. Is this important to you? If so how would you plan to limit age discrimination in businesses and the workplace and thus reduce the amount of aged unemployment?

Jessica: Given that traffic congestion through Albion Park Rail is a serious issue, will your government support the development of the Albion Park Bypass?

Emma: When compared to Wollongong’s public transport system the Shellharbour region seems to be lacking. What do you and your party plan to do in regards to making traveling around the region more efficient?

Carly: What are your party’s environmental plans for the region?

Shania: Do you support the sale of the electrical poles and wires in NSW?

James: What infrastructure projects do you see as being important for our local region?

Josh: Over the past years, there have been numerous cuts to TAFE. What is your party going to change in regards to further supporting these institutions?

Ashley: What is your stance on rights for marriage equality?

Taylor: A lack of practical learning has been a major issue for high school leavers when they complete secondary school and enter ‘the real world’. What can your party do to bridge the gap between student life and adulthood?

James: Do you and your party have any plans to improve schools in the region?

Riley: Over the past few years mistakes have been made by both major parties within the local area that have caused young people to lose trust within local politics. If elected what do you and your party plan to do to change this?

The feedback from students after the event, in the playground and to classroom teachers, was excellent.They really appreciated the candidates responses and indeed, many students felt very passionately about some issues.

The SRC were magnificent. Their organisation skills are always reliable and close to faultless. The SRC teachers, Jillian Jones and Joel Trist, are great leaders doing a great job nurturing this talented group of students. Our Vice-Captain, Gretel, MC-ed the event and was later interviewed live by Nick Rheinberger on local ABC radio.

Our school would like to thank Mark Jones, Peter Moran and Anna Watson for their support and wish them all well for the election.

You may know that the inspiration behind our drive for more authentic education re: democracy was inspired by the Danish model of civics and citizenship education.  You may also be interested in other events in our Nurturing Democracy Program, the federal Throsby Forum and also how the Australian Electoral Commission conducts our student elections.

Featured images courtesy of Joel Trist

SRC Camp 2014

SRC Camp 2014

Congratulations to the SRC, surviving the 3rd annual “Student Resilience Camp” for another year!

‘On Friday the 14th Nov, the SRC enjoyed their annual camp. We all really enjoyed the experience! We had a great time preparing and eating hamburgers and the slightly difficult task of setting up our tents. But I can speak for all of us when I say sitting down around the campfire sharing our personal stories was the most enjoyable part of the annual camp.

Earlier in the day, we spoke about 7 ideas that would make the school, students and staff a lot better and happier. These included sport, infrastructural, environmental and other benefits that needed to be improved or put in place. All in all, the SRC camp provided a great experience thanks to Mr FitzSimons, Mr Trist and Mrs Hopkins who organised the camp.’

Luke Pirangi, Year 8

AEC School Address

AEC School Address

AEC School Address – Dapto High School 05/06/2014

Hello, my name is Mina Choubassi and I am a project officer with the Australian Electoral Commission which I will refer to from this point on as the AEC. I myself am a big fan of abbreviations possibly because my full name is Gelsomina Lucia Mafalda Cecilia Ceres Choubassi which doesn’t fit on my driver’s licence or most of the forms I’m asked to complete.

Next week the AEC will be assisting with your school elections and I wanted to talk a little bit on that subject and the AEC in general. The AEC is a Commonwealth agency and it is our job to provide Australians with an independent electoral service, help them understand and take part in voting and forming a federal government. Let me explain what that means as far as elections are concerned:- we do not talk about who is better, we do not talk about who is right, we are just there to take your votes, count them and give you a result. In between running elections we have other work to do, the majority revolving around keeping the electoral roll up to date which has the names of all the people enrolled to vote in Australian elections. If you are an Australian citizen and 18yrs of age it is compulsory to enrol. Recently the age to enrol has been lowered to 16yrs although you cannot vote until you are 18. There are approximately 14,712,799 people on the roll and we are kept very very busy keeping that up to date.

I would also like to talk to you a bit about voting. Australia is one of 22 countries in the world where it is compulsory to vote. Some of you may think this is a good thing and some of you may think this is a bad thing. It is in our constitution and the only way we can change anything in our constitution is to put the vote to the Australian people and have a majority decide to change it. The government and politicians cannot change it only the Australian people can. Living in a democracy means we are given a say in how this country is run and voting is both our right and responsibility. Our rights are given to us whilst our responsibilities are where we give back and when you think about it there is a nice balance to that. As a right and knowing we do not get to choose where we are born, we should feel incredibly lucky to find ourselves born into a family and a country where we have a say in who is running our country and making our laws. As a responsibility, we need to be willing to give back to this country by using our voice to say what we think will make it a better place. Even if we are not happy with the choices we are given we must not give up our right to vote. If we are unhappy it is important that we realise that voting itself is not the problem – it is the only way to change the problem. Voting shows you care about your country. You know the AEC also helps other countries like Ethiopia, Fiji, South Africa and Indonesia run their elections. There we see how keen people are to vote by sometimes waiting all day for their turn and then coming back the next day if they weren’t successful. Their living conditions aren’t as good as ours and they know that voting is their chance to change things for the better.

In your school election next week you will be voting for representatives. In federal elections we also vote for representatives. If elected to government they will represent your area in parliament and make laws on your behalf. This person will then attend parliament and vote on laws and sometimes make decisions on running the country for you. We do not get to vote on laws, it is the people that we vote into government that vote for us. We do not choose how to spend the government finances – it is the people we elect into government who make those decisions.  So you can see it is very important to choose somebody you think will do a good job and make decisions you agree with. Your school representatives will also be making decisions for you so you need to be as sure as you can be that you are voting for the person that will make decisions you’re happy with. Hopefully you’ve thought about how you’re going to choose your representative. Will you choose based on how tough they seem, because of sporting achievements, on how confident they act, on how good looking they are or how well they communicate? Do you think they will be good representatives because they are knowledgeable or because they are kind or fair, intelligent or popular? You will need to think about whom you will choose and why you are choosing them. Your vote will be a secret so you don’t need to feel pressured to think the way others do.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the actual voting process for your election next week. Your year will be called up to the hall where there will be two voting areas. Your class will be asked to vote together at one of the voting areas so make sure you stay with your classmates. We ask that you do everything in an orderly manner and listen to the instructions that will be given to you. You will be directed to tables with issuing officers who will ask you firstly have you voted before. This is a necessary question as everybody can only vote once. You will also be asked what class you are in and your name and then be marked off the roll. The issuing officer will give you instructions on how to vote and the instructions will also be written on the ballot paper. Ballot paper is the name of the paper you will vote on. You will be given 2 ballot papers unless you are in Year 11 who will receive 4 because they are voting for the captains as well. The ballot paper will have the names of the candidates your year will be voting for, one with the female candidates and one with the male candidates. You will then take this ballot paper over to the queue controller who will direct you to a free voting screen when one becomes available. You must put a number in each of the boxes on the ballot paper in the order you prefer the candidates. In other words, the number one next to your first choice, the number two next to your second choice and so on. Make sure you have numbered the paper correctly, that you haven’t left a number out or put a number in twice. Write as neatly as possible so your vote can be understood. If you make a mistake on your ballot paper that is too difficult to fix let the queue controller know. You will need to hand the ballot paper you made the mistake on back so a fresh one can be issued to you. It is very important that you do not put any other markings on the ballot paper other than the numbers in the boxes. If you do not fill in the boxes correctly or write anything on there that can identify you the ballot paper may be called informal and not counted. Do not look at anybody else’s ballot paper and do not let anybody else look at yours. When you are finished voting take your ballot paper to the ballot box table and put it in the ballot box which has the same ballot paper attached to the front. After you have voted do not feel like you need to discuss it with anybody or say anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Remember your vote is a secret.

Thank you for inviting the AEC to be a part of this very special event. I’d like to wish you all the best for the election and the rest of your year at school. Thank you.