yeehah! we will have a high school in Coburg!

On Tuesday night while wishing a friend happy birthday on Facebook, I noticed that my friend Cate had already typed a message under her birthday wish "Some of us got you a little something today for your birthday - a High School for Coburg!" I nearly fell off my chair. 

Apparently Cate (the woman G and I have always said will be responsible for getting us a high school) received a call from The Age asking if we were celebrating yet? The journalist revealed the exciting news that the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon was about to announce the decision to expand Coburg Senior High School to include years 7 -12 in 2015. An hour so later she got another call from the DEECD who confirmed this great news including a process of community consultation. So on Wednesday morning I got up early to read this article in The AgeCampaigners win fight: Coburg will have a high school. Tears streamed down my face. Grace came in and gave me a cuddle and told me how great she thought it was that she'd be able to go to high school with her friends from primary school. I posted a link to the article and was surprised at how many people are online at 6.30am.

hsc campign
Mosaic showing some of the HSC working party and some of our protest actions
This exciting news has rippled through our community with hugs and celebrations. There's an afternoon tea planned at our primary school, a working party drinks next week and then a family and community celebration on the 29th. There wasn't any warning of the announcement, no bureaucratic softening that I was aware of and in some moments it doesn't seem quite real yet but really, it is a total game changer. Grace and all the kids at her school will have the option of going to a well equipped high school a 15 - 20 walk away and a  5-10 minute bike ride away. No 40 minute commute. No catching the school bus to Reservoir, the bus and tram to Brunswick or Carlton, the tram to Northcote or the train to Collingwood. All these schools have great things going for them and if we decided that Grace should go there it would now be because of what they offered being the best choice for Grace at the time (there are also likely to be more spaces for entry on curriculum grounds too now). But suddenly the local option is there and it feels like a great choice. The right choice. Funnily enough having the local high school option is also making me feel better about some of the things I don't love about her primary school. I don't know how that works, but there it is. It seems the news has also spread like wildfire amongst the local real estate agents. Not that it makes any difference to us because we have no plans to move, but I expect house prices in the area will rise. And also people will be less inclined to leave. It's all good.

I've also been reflecting on my part in all this. Coming on the back of the pool campaign, I initially resisted becoming involved with HSC. In the end though, I really thought they needed a more easy to update website and I liked hanging out with Cate and I wanted a high school, so I put my hand up. Over the last few years, I've tended not to be one for meetings and as I have discovered, I actually don't much like meetings. But I do like taking photos and messing about with blogger, scribd, flickr, Facebook and Mailchimp. The good thing about having a website is that it gives you a way to collect your history as a group, to positively express what the group is about and to tell your story. Using Mailchimp enabled us to get more of that story out to more people but I think it was Facebook where our supporters really engaged. I didn't know that much about Facebook pages in the beginning and neither did Cate but she took to it like a natural. I guess the website was like the library and Facebook was like the common room. You need both. I've learnt heaps and I'm thinking that by doing those things I like, I've made a contribution. And I'm going to stick my head out here and say that I'm proud of that. However, I do recognise that we absolutely need the people who tirelessly go to meetings and talk with politicians and bureaucrats. People who don't give up when the meetings are difficult or unpleasant. Without those people and their efforts, nothing changes. Cate and the others in the working party have done that brilliantly and I'm tremendously grateful to them. But I'm quite pleased to have been in the background doing my thing too.

Yeehah! High School for Coburg in 2015!


librarygirl said...

Fantastic news Janet. I am a huge advocate for local state schools. Since we moved here 7 years ago, our kids walked to the primary school ( 10 minutes walk) and now to the secondary college ( 5 minutes). Local kids walking means it is safer in terms of people always being around and kids aren't alone. The local primary schools feed naturally into the local high. There is also local catholic ps and hs if that's your choice.
Healthier for the kids, they learn independence, fewer cars.Supporting the local schools by enrolling your kids in them is a good thing.

Stomper Girl said...

Such good news Janet. Well done for all your campaigning. Just as well you bought when you did too!

Suse said...

Such a fantastic win for the community.