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Gazette Article

Welcome picnic starts school year

When the bell rang at Artarmon Public School (APS) on the first day of school in January, 870 students queued up to be allocated a class. Thirty-four classes were formed and then students, teachers, staff and parents set to work. To celebrate the new school year and raise some urgently needed funds for another computer laboratory, the fundraising committee and the multicultural committee held the annual APS welcome picnic.

Several hundred people perused market stalls, of which the cake stall seemed most popular, selling out of its stock of home baked goodies. There were a range of activities from henna tattoos and origami folding to jumping castles, netball and mini tennis. All that entertainment made people hungry and more than 400 sausages, 70 steak sandwiches and 360 drinks were sold.

Deputy Principal Ryan Shepheard believes the welcome day picnic promotes a culture of belonging that extends beyond the classroom. “It’s a school community event that encourages everyone to come along and participate,” he told the Gazette. “Families can meet each other, kids can mix with their friends and it just creates a positive experience and a positive feel about school.”

Organisers declared the day a huge success having raised $14,000, a substantial contribution towards the targeted $60,000 cost of a new computer lab.

Also on display at the welcome picnic were artworks APS students had created to celebrate Harmony Day, a national government initiative organised by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Co-ordinated by the multicultural committee, each class decorated a cardboard person in cultural dress. More than 30 countries of origin are represented within the APS student population so Ryan believes Harmony Day presents the ideal opportunity to emphasise the values encapsulated in the event motto “everyone belongs”.

“Celebrating Harmony Day allows us to appreciate the multicultural nature of our school and really highlight our inclusive practices and how we do welcome people from all around the world to be part of our school community,” he said.

This year’s Harmony Day theme was “sport, play, engage, inspire”. At APS, participation in sport is encouraged throughout the year. During term one, students from years three to six competed in the school swimming carnival. While the emphasis is on every student “giving it a go”, those that swim exceptional times in events qualify to participate in the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association state swimming championship.

Year six student June Liang qualified and competed in both the 50m butterfly and breaststroke events. To her credit, June made the breaststroke final competing against swimmers from all over the state and coming only three seconds behind the winner. This coming term, students from years three to six will participate in the school cross-country carnival. The children will try to win points for their house. There are four houses: Flynn, Gilmore, Lawson and Melba.
Twelve talented APS students will be in a different house in August. The students are members of the Senior String Group. Ten violinists and two cellists were selected to join a 200-strong string ensemble comprising students from across NSW. They will perform four pieces entirely from memory at The Festival of Instrumental Music at the Opera House in August. The performance dates have been added to the school’s burgeoning list of activities, occasions and events for term two and the remainder of 2012.

by Jane Rowley

Courtesy of Gazette May 2012
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PSSA girls
PSSA girls ... swimming champions


50m butterfly
50m butterfly ... APA 3 sec behind winner





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