To celebrate and explore the potential of student leadership, Teach For All is collecting and sharing stories from across the network and around the globe. When students LEAD, we all LEARN.

Teach For Australia

Closing the Gap - Partnership with Cathy Freeman Foundation and Stawell Athletic Club

Student Leaders
Chelsea Chatfield, Stawell Secondary College
Adult Supporter
Chad Frost
Age of Students

Please describe how your students exercised their leadership and the impact they had.

Chelsea has instigated and led a number of initiatives within our school and wider community close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Her first project saw her develop a strong partnership with the Cathy Freeman Foundation, the Stawell Athletic Club and Stawell Secondary College raising awareness and money for the Cathy Freeman Foundation which helps Indigenous children experience their potential in school, and beyond. Chelsea instigated the partnership, which led to the Cathy Freeman Foundation partnering with the Stawell Gift as the nominated charity for the annual event. Chelsea managed and coordinated meetings between the three partners, liaised with the fundraising coordinator from the Cathy Freeman Foundation regularly, led a team of 15 students and 8 staff fundraising over the three day event, attended meetings in Melbourne with the Cathy Freeman Foundation and their media division. Chelsea managed to raise in excess of $5000 over the event. Her efforts were recognised in term 2 where she was the guest speaker at a leadership summit held by the Cathy Freeman Foundation and attended by all of Victoria's major private schools. Secondly, she has continued fundraising throughout the year, leading a group of Year 11 students on a fundraising campaign in an effort to support Team Freeman for the Melbourne Marathon Festival. Finally, Chelsea also led the whole school through a series of NAIDOC Week celebrations at the College. In this role she completed lesson plans, advertised through local media, created a series of whole school activities that were carried out through our Home Group sessions.

What role did you play in supporting your students’ leadership?

I am Chelsea's VCAL Coordinator and have thus supported her in class and acted as a sounding board for her ideas. I also put Chelsea in touch with the Cathy Freeman Foundation last year, after running with them in the Melbourne Marathon. Our school has supported Chelsea through providing her time during school, assistance getting to her meetings and the summit, and providing some resources for her to hold her events.

What did you and your students learn in this activity that will endure beyond today?

Chelsea's legacy is that the Stawell Athletic Club has nominated the Cathy Freeman Foundation as the partnering charity as an ongoing partnership, with the support of Stawell Secondary College. She has been working with a Year 11 student to take over the reigns in 2017. Chelsea herself has taken a lot of confidence from all of her work this year and is now looking to broaden her horizons and look into leaving Stawell to study event management. Her project work has also been a great example to our students, particularly those involved in the VCAL program. Through Chelsea's NAIDOC week celebrations the whole school learned a lot about local indigenous history and NAIDOC week will now be a part of the Stawell Secondary College Home Group curriculum annually.