Copping a cream pie in the face on a Friday afternoon is not everyone’s idea of fun, but for Morisset High School principal Darren Brailey it was a small price to pay for a greater good.
Mr Brailey, his four deputy principals, and 20 of the Lake Macquarie school’s teachers were pelted with wet sponges and paper plates piled with whipped cream as part of the school’s inaugural Pie Face Fundraiser.
The two-hour activity was designed to raise at least $1,000 for Solar Buddy; an energy equity charity providing school children across the world with solar-powered LED lights in a bid to end energy poverty.
By bidding $1 or more and ending up the highest bidder, any of the school’s 720 enrolled students, teaching or support staff, could win the privilege of hurling a soaked sponge, or smothering a plate of cream, at educators or classmates.
The event was the brainchild of members of the school’s Big Picture Program.
“Big Picture” is a personalised, passion-based learning initiative designed to prepare students for opportunities beyond school with an emphasis on relevance and real-world learning.
Rather than attend classrooms featuring tradition subjects, the students combine academic work with real-world internships.
Supporters of the program say it is about pupils “using their head, heart and hands to explore their world and plan their own pathways to future employment, study or enterprise”.
It is available to students Year 7 to Year 12.
“It’s self-directed learning. It’s like making your own curriculum, you study and learn about what interests you,” says Big Picture Year 10 student Megan Waters.
For Megan that means policing and mental health.
Big Picture Year 10 student Natasha Gulati says she can attest to the success of the program.
She completed her Year 7 to 9 years in conventional education before transitioning to the initiative.
“I was in mainstream before I switched so I’ve got experience in both,” she said.
“I can say that my interest is in design and I have learned so much that will help me in this area. I do the research and have been given opportunities that will help me in this learning.”
And, why Solar Buddy?
“It’s part of the UN’s goals to save the planet,” Megan explains.
“We can make them here at school so we’re actually physically helping those less fortunate, which is very rewarding.”
The solar buddies are sent to the school in a kit and the Big Picture students assemble them, and send them to communities in need.
Its aim is to eradicate energy poverty in all its forms for future generations by supplying cleaner energy to the 1.4 billion people who are plunged into darkness each night.
Solar buddies provide an alternative to primitive forms of energy like charcoal and firewood which have a detrimental effect on the environment.
Taking a step toward cleaner energy, in this case, meant wearing a pie face for the school’s leaders, a move that drew laughs and jovial threats of punishment as it rounded up the school week.
“Today was fantastic, getting a pie in the face for a good cause. I’m really proud of the students that got this organised,” Mr Brailey said.
“I know they achieved their goals and we all had a good time.
“It’s the first time we’ve done this, it was all student-driven, we were just here to facilitate.
“There may be a few detentions on Monday.”
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