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Higher education pathways offer Stellar opportunities for Clarence Valley students


Brigid Veale
2 September 2013
Primary school students will get up close with local marine life, while year 7s will develop their individual recipes for success at high school and beyond when a new program designed to boost higher education participation rates in the Clarence Valley starts tomorrow (3 September).

Stellar Kids On Campus will see 100 primary and high school students from Coffs Harbour, Yamba and Maclean visit the University’s National Marine Science Centre and Coffs Harbour campus for a University Intro Day on Tuesday, 3 September.

Stellar University Days will be held from 10 to 12 September at Grafton and Maclean High Schools. More than 600 year 7 students from McAuley Catholic College, Grafton High, South Grafton High and Maclean High Schools will be participating in activities to increase their awareness and understanding of higher education.

The Stellar program is a new initiative of the Clarence Valley Industry and Education Forum (CVIEF), a strategic education, business and community partnership which seeks to build the future of young people in the Clarence Valley. Stellar is funded through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) and coordinated by Southern Cross University. The University of New England (UNE) is also a partner university.

“It is vital that we actively develop students’ interest in education and build their knowledge of higher education options and benefits,” said Ron Phillips, chair of the Clarence Valley Industry Education Forum.

“Research shows that decisions about participating in higher education are made early in life rather than later.”

As part of the Stellar program students will experience interactive activities designed to: introduce them to university life and the courses available; increase their knowledge, understanding and motivation toward higher education; and show them the education stepping stones to achieving their ideal career.

Highlights for the students at Stellar Kids On Campus:

• Get up close with local marine life through hands-on activities at SCU’s National Marine Science Centre based at Coffs Harbour.
• Build 3D animations in the computer labs and actively experience the facilities of the University’s biology and health facilities.
• Receive Honorary ‘Diplomas’ from the University Chancellor The Hon John Dowd AO QC during a mock graduation ceremony.

Highlights for students at the Stellar University Days:

• Explore their strengths to help overcome challenges and develop their own recipes for success at high school through fun and motivational activities.
• Learn more about the possibilities of university life and career opportunities, with SCU and UNE students sharing their experiences about high school, the journey to university, their degrees and goals after graduation.
• Design and paint a giant school banner representing post-HSC goals which will be kept in a time capsule to be unfurled at their HSC celebrations in five years’ time.

Troy Irwin, Stellar program coordinator, said: “Research shows that programs such as Stellar can increase students’ self-confidence and self-esteem, and have a positive effect on student motivation for higher education.”

Kids on Campus is co-hosted by Southern Cross University and the Coffs Harbour Students’ Association as part of the Stellar initiative.

Photo: Troy Irwin.