Irrawang High School logo

Irrawang High School

Irrawang High School

Achievement through learning and participation

Telephone02 4987 4687


"Afternoon to all the staff at Irrawang High School,

I just wanted to email you and say thank you so very much for the amazing job you have all done this term (and every term) guiding, teaching and encouraging the students through their learning, their growing and their developing. You have done an amazing job at supporting them and checking in with them through these challenging, different and some what crazy times. You have not only done all of this for your students but their families and your students communities and supports as well. And to top it off you are then being their for your own families and supports, you are truly amazing. And for that I, we as a family want to say thank you so very much, it is greatly appreciated. Please enjoy your much earned break, relax, refresh and come back ready to tackle this challenging time and learning for another term.

The greatest appreciation".

IHS family


"Please pass on to all staff…

I wanted to thank you for R U Ok? Wellbeing Day. The videos were fantastic and the day was a welcome relief.  We talked to family overseas, jumped on the trampoline with our dog, survived a magpie attack while on a walk of our property and finished a 500 piece puzzle.
I also wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you are doing during this lockdown. We appreciate your dedication. Teachers have generously shown care and a love of learning & life. I wish I had more words or the ability to gift you with something to greater express our gratitude.
You are a blessing! I truly hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays. May they rejuvenate you"

IHS family

"A quick email to express my gratitude and thanks for the amazing work you all continue to do. The way that you thoughtfully crafted the timetable to include space for activities which don't involve trying to learn online is appreciated - that time has made a big difference in our home. Also noticed and appreciated is the engagement you're actively building in the social media space by holding activities to build engagement. We are also grateful for the text messages and mailed commendations which convey to our young adults that they are seen, heard, and rewarded for their efforts in learning.

We hope to see you all soon,"



"I just wanted to say thank you and well done to all of the teaching and office staff for setting the kids up to work at their own pace in these crazy times. Thank you for the support, you always go above and beyond"

Katrina Highman


"I just want to say thankyou and everyone of you are doing an amazing job to help our kids continue with their education safely.

Our family really appreciates this in such an uncertain time.

Thankyou so much to everyone there".



"...........You all offer so many great opportunities for our children and have such a positive impact on children's education and personal growth. My children are flourishing under your tutelage and I can't wait to send my younger two to the best school in our area.

Keep up the great work guys, you all deserve more  recognition for what you do :)".

Katrina Dwyer 


"Medowie Public School P and C would like to thank the IHS students who came over and assisted us in our Colour Run today it was a great success and all IHS were exceptional in the interactions with Medowie Public School students lots of smiles and laughter from all involved. IHS students were polite, followed instructions assisted where needed and I'm sure even enjoyed chalking the kids as that was there main task at the end they were just as covered in chalk as the rest of the students.

Again a Big thank you IHS for being a part of our fun day with the students of Medowie public".

Medowie PS P&C


" I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you so much for all of the effort and thought that you put into the organisation of our visits to Irrawang High School. I have received a very positive response from my students, and all were very impressed with the culture of the school. A stand out comment that I received repeatedly today was how impressed my pre-service teachers were with the clear expectation and emphasis on respectful communication between students and teachers. There were a number of willing volunteers for the “Snack and Study” as well as the Breakfast Club......"

Melanie Innes

Journal Manager, Historical Encounters

Sessional Academic & PhD candidate,

School of Education

The University of Newcastle

“Lachlan works at the check out at Medowie Woolworths. He was extremely polite and during our conversation (not knowing I was a principal or even in the education game), was so supportive of Irrawang High, the programs, the two Deputy Principals and Principal Baxter. What a positive asset to Irrawang High School”.

Mrs Stacy Mathieson


Irrawang Public School

"With all the negative posts we see about young adults in our town thought I would share what I witnessed tonight (Friday March 1st). On leaving the Indian takeaway I seen a group of 8 teenage boys sitting at the tables playing UNO. Now that's good vibes right there”.

Narelle Pitman


“I would like to thank you all for your dedication to raising funds for the community of Raymond Terrace.

I would also like to thank the four students that attended collecting at MarketPlace over the Red Shield period.

Your students were an outstanding example to your school, everyone of them were engaging ,polite and respectful to myself and the local community."

Tracy Iles - Auxiliary Lieutenant
The Salvation Army Raymond Terrace

“Dear Adele,

I just wanted to write and thank you for visiting our school today with such an outstanding and talented group of students. The staff and students are still talking about it..."

Katrina Cameron


Mount Kanwary Public School

 "I am very happy with the education my daughter receives at Irrawang High. There is a huge array of opportunities across the school for all students. My happy daughter has become very involved in sport and also CAPA who offer Drum Corps, the annual tour and dancing. It has opened up a whole new world for her. I would definitely recommend Irrawang High School".
Alicia Willis


"I must say that Irrawang High School has had all 3 of my girls start there in year 7 and will see all 3 complete year 12.

The Teachers and Support Staff at IHS have played a large role in supporting and shaping them into wonderful young women who are positive role models for others in the Raymond Terrace Community and beyond.

This public school supports every student from the gifted and talented programs, to support- need classes for those students with learning difficulties and disabilities. Irrawang High School offered my children a comprehensive academic subject range and subject choices. This school supports student's diversity & cultural backgrounds and encourages students to express creativity through performing arts.

"As a parent I am the teacher, leader, role model, discipliner and carer and in my absence this is the role I want my children teachers to be".

I value the school's Positive Behaviour for Learning expectations of Respect of self and others, Responsibility (own it) & strive for Personal Best (reach for the sky)".

Donna Newell


"Our two girls have not looked back since starting at IHS. We have found the staff friendly, approachable and professional. The school has high quality teachers and programs – particularly in CAPA where the teachers are amazingly creative and dedicated. The students are offered enrichment opportunities, sporting opportunities, assistance in all areas and a wide variety of subjects and experiences. The school is welcoming, has open communication, encourages parent participation and consistently showcases student/school achievements".

Leisl Kennedy


"The Gallery Guides would like to pass on their thanks to yourself and your students. They were very impressed with the politeness, maturity and interest of the students during their visit the Newcastle Art gallery.

 We would love to have you back at the Gallery again in the future".

Bree Rooney

Newcastle City Council

Ms KATE WASHINGTON ( Port Stephens ) ( 21:25 :49 ):

"Last week we celebrated Education Week in New South Wales. It is a week to celebrate, highlight and promote the remarkable achievements in schools across our State and, from all I see happening at the schools in my electorate, there is plenty to celebrate. This year's theme was "I learn, we learn" and its focus was to celebrate the high-quality, personalised learning culture within our schools. Education Week is a time to recognise the hard work and dedication of our teachers, as well as the talent and passion of our students. Not only does Port Stephens have the best beaches in New South Wales, but also we are blessed with some of the hardest-working teachers and the most talented students in the State.

Every school day across my electorate school principals and teachers work with students to help them achieve their potential to be the very best they can be. Last week students in many schools showcased their talent and I was once again disappointed that Parliament was sitting during Education Week. This means that most of us, particularly those who represent regional communities, miss out on seeing the Education Week extravaganzas such as the enormously successful "Showcase", hosted by Irrawang High School in Raymond Terrace. Irrawang High School showcases all the students who form part of the Lakeside Learning Community—Irrawang Public School, Grahamstown Public School, Medowie Public School and Wirreanda Public school.

Over two nights 1,000 people saw students shining in all areas of the performing arts, gaining experience with professional lighting, staging and sound. "Showcase" would not be complete without the amazing Irrawang High School drumming corp. These kids do amazing things and perform everywhere. I absolutely love it. It is not a performance you just listen to, you feel it through your whole body. Nor would the night be complete without the amazing Irrawang High School dancers. The creative and performing arts [CAPA] program at Irrawang High School is incredible.

Last week students from each of the Lakeside Learning Community schools, together with Hunter River High and Raymond Terrace Public schools, showcased their talents in the wider community performing at MarketPlace Raymond Terrace—our local shopping centre. MarketPlace Raymond Terrace not only hosted the performances but also paid for the students to be bussed from their schools to the shopping centre. It even presented a cake to the year 12 students it has supported since year 7. This illustrates the strong collaborative approach of our community. I pay special tribute to Irrawang High School's CAPA head teacher, Adele Robinson, who has had the mammoth task of organising both events during Education Week for all the schools. This is an example of how hard our teachers are willing to work, and there are many more examples across other schools.

None of this would happen without the support and leadership of school principals Paul Baxter, Irrawang High School; Deb Dibley, Hunter River High School; Philippa Young, Wirreanda Public School; Stacey Mathieson, Irrawang Public School; Glen Whitton, Medowie Public School; Sue Kane, Grahamstown Public School; and John Picton, Raymond Terrace Primary School.

I also make special mention of the deputy principal from Irrawang High School, Michael O'Brien, who has retired after 38 years, three months and 27 days of teaching in public schools. Mr O'Brien has made a difference to the lives of children from Dorrigo to Nyngan and Raymond Terrace. Outside of school, he also made a significant contribution through his local, State and national roles in the sport of water polo. His other big contribution to education in my eyes is his daughter, who also took up teaching. My youngest child had the benefit of a year with the amazing Erin O'Brien. Congratulations and thank you, Michael, for your years of service to education and our community.

Thank you to all the principals and teachers at all the schools in Port Stephens for all your hard work and for making a difference to young people's lives every day. My parents were both teachers so I grew up knowing that teaching is not a job, it is a life. Witnessing the collaborative approach of our schools, I am reminded of a frequently used expression: It is a village that raises a child. It rings true in Port Stephens because it is demonstrated every day in our schools, with strong partnerships between schools, families, businesses, service clubs, community groups and volunteers. I thank the parents, grandparents and carers who partner with their children's schools to make sure they get the most out of it. I offer a special thank you to all the parents who go one step further and become members of the parents and citizens association, and who give up their free time to provide much-needed support. I have been there and done that, and know how difficult and time consuming it can be—but it is always so rewarding..."

Kate Washington MP

Member for Port Stephens

Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:45): Much is said about the rising youth unemployment rate in my electorate of Paterson. It's an important issue and one that I consider among my top priorities. However, I believe it's important that in addition to seeking solutions for our young people, we take the time to celebrate their talents and achievements. It gives me great pride and pleasure to stand before you today and share with you my utter respect for the performing arts talent of the young people of Paterson.

"Last Tuesday I was treated to a display that left me inspired and full of hope for our young people. I was among 1,000 guests given the joy of watching students from the Lakeside Learning Community of schools share their talents on stage during 'Showcase, Just Imagine'. Performers across the two-evenings event, which was held at Irrawang High School, ranged from early primary years through to the later secondary stages. Cast members were drawn from the student bodies of Irrawang High and Medowie, Wirreanda, Grahamstown and Irrawang public schools. The musical, theatrical and artistic talents of the students were enhanced by professional lighting and sound. It was a fabulous experience for performers, parents and, simply, lovers of the arts. We have so many reasons to be proud of our young people and to be full of hope for their futures. Well done kids! Outstanding!"

Meryl Swanson MP

Member for Paterson

 "....I came to Showcase last year and was amazed with the performances. Again this year I was astonished by the performances"

Jason Stokes


Raymond Terrace Bowling Club

" I was at Medowie soccer on Saturday and wanted to make you aware of a possible nomination for the PBL community award.

Brendan Johns is in year 7 and he was a "kindy buddy' last year at Medowie Public School.

Not only did Brendan come and have a chat with some of the little ones, he happily spoke about his injured leg and how they can be careful when playing soccer etc. I came over and said hello (not having met him before) and asked him what school he was at  - he was so proud in saying Irrawang High and when I asked if he is enjoying it, he said it was a great school".

Mrs Stacy Mathieson


Irrawang Public School

 "Just wanted to touch base with you in regards to the students who came and assisted us for our NAIDOC Day today.  Ethan Rae, Antwone Ryan, Kostya Kratsas, and Kasey Rae were nothing but exceptional!!! They assisted us with several workshops and our sausage sizzle and were more than willing to help in any way they could. I would like to commend all 4 boys on their attitudes and the way they engaged with all of our students. They certainly demonstrated the Irrawang High School values of respect, responsibility and personal best. Several times throughout the day I was approached by staff  who commented on how amazing they had been with our students. 

The boys showed a love and passion for Aboriginal culture and are to be commended for their efforts in instilling this passion into our students. They were polite, enthusiastic, caring and compassionate. We would be more than happy to welcome them back to Medowie Public School to assist us in the future. Also a huge thank you to Mr Dylan Manton for attending with the boys. It was a wonderful way to work in partnership together, I can honestly say the boys have certainly inspired our students.

Once again, thank you so much for allowing the boys to attend"

Vicki Winters
Medowie Public School

"Today I was part of the group who conducted the Hunter Region
Orienteering Championships. Approximately 40 students from your school
participated. Without an exception they were a delight to interact with.
Their manners were without question. Their enthusiasm and interest in
doing their very best was obvious. Yes other students from other schools
were very well behaved but the genuine friendship and friendliness IHS
students displayed both within the group and towards me was a delight to

I do have to confess however I have a prior connection with the group
having had 2 sessions in the past couple of weeks to prepare them. One
session was at school and the other as part of the Yr 7 HSIE program
last Friday. There again the students certainly presented an exceptional

Kate Conner has formed a great relationship with the students and by her
leadership they are blossoming through their extension experiences. Kate
thanks me for my time and I am always treated very well. But I certainly
wouldn't make myself available if the students weren't a pleasure to be

Carolyn Rigby
Development Officer Orienteering NSW

"Good Morning Meagan,

....Your group (CAPA) was such a pleasure to have and we had so much amazing feedback from guests staying in the resort and also staff members saying how polite all of the students were and also how fantastic their performance on Sunday was.Travel safely and I hope to see you again next year ".

Warm Whitsunday Smiles

Tammy Stevenson | Groups and Events Co-ordinator
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

"To the Under 15's Rugby Team,

 I would like to congratulate you all on your recent success at the All Schools Rugby League Knockout (Knights Knockout) competition.

What an achievement! To organise your own team and coach so that you could play in the Knockout Competition, displayed a great deal of initiative, motivation and commitment.

You should be very proud of yourselves.

Well done!"

 Yours Sincerely,

Cassie Collins


 "I would like to pass on my thanks and congratulations to the debate students and supporting teachers at Irrawang High School. It's always great to see students challenge themselves and acquire new skills. Debating is a tough skill to master and your students have demonstrated composure, resilience and divergent thinking in their debating. However, what I love to see most is students displaying good sportsmanship, which each of your students have demonstrated every time I have adjudicated for them. It's truly a pleasure to come to Irrawang High School and I hope your debate team continues its success in 2016 and beyond"

Kind regards,

Mrs Madison Welch

" ... today (Thursday) my husband and I travelled to Sydney by public transport to attend a play at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst.
We came across your English class on the train and joined up with them and their teacher, to find the theatre.
Your year 12 students were wonderfully  behaved and a credit to their teacher and school...
 Please pass on our positive comments about your students and we ask that you wish them well with their HSC.
Thanking you"
Marilyn and Kim Holloway
Raymond Terrace

"We just wanted to say a massive thank you for organising our visit to Irrawang High this week. It has definitely been the week's highlight. We appreciate the time and effort you took to make our visit possible, and the hospitality you showed us whilst we were there.

Could you please pass on our gratitude to the amazing staff and students too. It was an honour to meet you all"

Carly and Tresne

The Happiness Mission

"On Thursday, I was setting up the Cross Country at Lakeside while your Year 9 and 10 students were playing touch football for sport. More than half of them offered a helping hand, all of them were polite and respectful and 4 of them just jumped in and assisted. Will Turpin, Joel Shiels, Teeya Saunders and another girl with Teeya who was not ex Grahamstown were getting drinks and just took things out of my hands and carried them in. Not sure about your PBL but this group as a whole and these 4 in particular deserve some praise"

"As for the 9 students you sent down ( sports coaching students).. thank you soooo much. It would have been a much harder day without them. ......Taylah demonstrated leadership. She worked with teaching staff who were very impressed with how she spoke to children and her work ethic. I had positive comments about her from staff, parents and children. The parents and children thought her a young teacher and asked where she taught? One of the teaching staff who thought she was a casual wanted to employ her!

I think over the two days that I am talking about the young people involved were great ambassadors for Irrawang High School.

Please pass on my thanks and congratulations.

Leanne Russell

Grahamstown PS

"I am writing to say that our school absolutely enjoyed the performance you brought to us. ALL the teachers wanted me to convey their messages of thanks and appreciation. They have never seen our whole school so totally engaged and captivated by a performance. It was exciting and entertaining. Usually, many of our students are extremely sensitive to loud noises-not this time!!! We think that we haven't had a performance that was so universally well received-and we can't believe that it was free! We couldn't have paid for anything any better. After school, when I went to do my bus duty, I could hear many students telling their parents all about it, asking each other what they thought and talking to teachers about favourite bits.

Thank you for coming to our school-your students and their performances have left a lasting impression, and provided us all with a wonderful experience".


Augusta Park Primary School

Port Augusta, South Australia

"I would once again like to commend your students on their politeness towards us ( at the careers morning) even those who were not interested, they were all very considerate and respectful.

We look forward to seeing you again next year"

Kim Croese

Centre Director

Bright Horizons Childcare Raymond Terrace

"Last week, I was privileged to attend Irrawang High School's Showcase Spectacular for 2015. Showcase is an annual event held over two nights that sees schools from the Lakeside Learning Community come together for shows jam-packed with talent. I was delighted to attend the second night's show at which I saw hundreds of students from Irrawang Public School, Medowie Public School and Irrawang High School dancing, singing, blowing trumpets, peeping on recorders and blasting us on the drums. At the previous night's show, students from Wirreanda Public School and Grahamstown Public School joined forces with the talented team from Irrawang High School.

I congratulate each of the principals from the participating schools: Mr Col Elliott from Irrawang High School, Mr Glen Whitten from Medowie Public School, Ms Philippa Young from Wirreanda Public School, Mrs Nancye Farley from Irrawang Public School and Mrs Sue Kane from Grahamstown Public School. Not only is Showcase a terrific show but also it is community building, creating connections across local primary schools to their feeder high school and instilling pride and confidence in our future generations. I congratulate all the students, families and staff involved. It was an impressive show, with many proclaiming it to be the best ever—an accolade that I cannot disagree with"

Ms Kate Washington MP
Member for Port Stephens

"I don't know how well the first night (Showcase) went but if your students and parents enjoyed the night half as much as I saw and heard ours did, you would have been exceptionally proud of your students efforts!!

I was as delighted as all of the audience with the level of professionalism, coordination and choreography of all the acts presented.

…Please pass on my congratulations to your teachers and students for their efforts and SUCCESS!"

Glen Whitton


Medowie Public School

"Thank you Adele. Last night (Showcase) was spectacular and I was proud to be part of such a quality production. Our local heroes 'did us proud' and were a credit to Public Education"

Nancye Farley


Irrawang Public School

"I've just arrived home from Hunter Dance Festival.  After 4 nights in the holding room with different dance groups tonight I had the pleasure to have my group sitting next to your dancers.

 I can't really think of enough good things to say about them - they were polite, nice to my Year 3 students, supervised by a lovely teacher (one of few high school groups that did have a teacher supervising), left the area spotless and were just generally wonderful kids.  Please pass on my thanks and congratulations to the teacher and the girls concerned"

Merrita Jeffrey


Blackalls Park Public School

"My 48 pre-service teachers left your school feeling so inspired. This was their very first experience in a classroom acting in the role of a teacher and they were on such a natural high! They loved the way the students responded so positively to them..You cannot beat authentic experiences for learning!..

They enjoyed liaising with your staff, who were very welcoming and provided them with some great ideas on how to improve their lessons. They also said that they thought that you (Chris McCord)and Col Elliott were inspirational. They commented that the students at Irrawang were lucky to have you as their leaders and mentors as your dedication was obvious....Could you please pass our appreciation onto all who are involved and could you please tell year seven that my students were most impressed by their friendliness, their creativity, their personal skills and their ability to solve problems. They are most impressive individuals".

Deborah Trevallion


School of Education

University of Newcastle

  "I really appreciate that the school is running such a valuable program in Plan-it-Youth, and my son Jordan has benefited tremendously from the advice and experience of the mentors"

Peter White 


"  I have attended every end of year Presentation event since 1987 both as a parent and as an elected Councillor. I am increasingly impressed at the performance and behaviour of the young students. They look good and are a credit to their generation and their families. I hope to continue my involvement with the IHS as Lions Club President and look forward to many more opportunities to see Raymond Terrace excel. I believe very strongly that what is being promoted at IHS is enjoyment and involvement. We don't have to be perfect in this world but we do need to have resilience and happiness. Schools such as IHS present the opportunity for this to occur. "

Glenys Francis

Raymond Terrace

"Irrawang high provided an environment that incorporated educational, physical and social activities that helped to facilitate an easy journey through the pressures of high school. The teachers and staff provided great opportunities for study and extracurricular activities, and helped us achieve the best we could with our HSC results. This encouragement and support for learning provided me with the foundations I needed to reach university and set me up with the skills I needed for further studying"

Kelsie Redman

Past Student 2008

Bachelor Animal Science

 "The staff, fellow students and the positive learning environment at Irrawang High School has helped prepare me for success in my future studies and in setting up a great career. Irrawang offers every opportunity to students to pursue any career avenue they choose".

 Alex Whitehead

Past Student 2008
Mechanical Engineer

"My HSC results laid the foundation for my university and business success. This would not have been achieved without the help and support from the teaching network at Irrawang High School. The entire community at Irrawang High School put their utmost effort into ensuring we were fully prepared for our HSC and pushed us to believe that anyone from any school is capable of achieving great results if they remain dedicated. I have extremely positive memories of my high school years thanks to Irrawang and their hands on approach to each and every student. Their encouraging methods have shaped me as a person and allowed me to push myself to continue to achieve things I never thought possible".

 Jesse Etheton

Past Student 2008

Business Owner, Business/ Law Student/Mum

"....I have attended many things within schools and have done for many years, but I'm very proud to say that Irrawang High School truly stands out above any other school I have attended for school events. This truly is a credit to Mr Elliott and the way he works with all and the love, trust and respect he has for all"

Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz

Centre Manager

Raymond Terrace Market Place

"Just want to congratulate everyone on an excellent showcase last night,very enjoyable.My granddaughter was in GPS choir"

Carolyn Holmes

"We received great feedback from our client about the Drum Corps performance this morning - they wanted us to let you know that they thought you were brilliant! Thank you so much for taking part"


Glendale Shopping Centre

"This evening I attended a film event at Raymond Terrace cinema, showing and environmental movie. Some of your students were in attendance.

 I felt that I needed to write to you to compliment them on their behaviour, and the genuine interest that they showed in the material presented. They asked a number of questions. You have some aspiring environmentalists there!"

Faye Clark.


Mr CRAIG BAUMANN MP (Port Stephens—Parliamentary Secretary) [6.14 p.m.]: Today I speak abut an important contract about to be signed in my electorate by teenagers at Irrawang High School in Raymond Terrace. There is something in the air in Port Stephens empowering our students. It is powerful and contagious. It is not Facebook or Twitter or the latest hilarious YouTube sensation. It is the enthusiasm for a project that is inspiring and motivating students to stay in school, obtain a job or choose a positive pathway that enables successful transition to employment or further education and training.

I refer to the Beacon Program, which many in this House may be familiar with, as the non-profit organisation is now in 118 secondary schools in Australia. The Beacon Program belief is that every young Australian can develop an independent will to achieve personal success and success for their community. I was fortunate to be a guest at a recent business breakfast at Irrawang High School in Raymond Terrace to launch the Beacon Program at the school. The high school already places considerable emphasis on securing positive pathways to employment for its students. A key strategy it employs is to harness the wisdom, experience and generosity of employers and other community members who are willing to give their time and knowledge. And given they have.

Lue Fagan, the school's new Community Engagement Officer, is charged with the role of improving the school's profile and image in the local community. Some members may remember Lue as the electorate officer of my predecessor and good mate, John Bartlett. Lue has told me the school community is buzzing with excitement about the contract, which 180 year 10 students will sign this month. It is the first contract that most of them will ever sign—the next, no doubt, will be a phone contract—and perhaps the most important. At the breakfast I was more than impressed by the year 10 Beacon ambassadors for the school: Jyana Catic, Tim Higginbottom, Marc Hodgson and Jelesa Whitchurch. These fine young people, who have been mentored by Ms Adele Robinson, will keep the rest of their year 10 peers up to date with the program. I also want to mention the year 11 hospitality students who planned, prepared, cooked and served the breakfast under the guidance of Mrs Jenny Sellers.

The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers for this program is palpable. That partly could be because the school's principal, Col Elliott, an effervescent educator who is always looking for ways to improve the lives of his students, is so enthusiastic. The motto of Irrawang High School is "Integrity" and its slogan "Achievement through learning and participation". The school is living up to this creed every day and we wish them well for the future of this program. The Beacon Foundation philosophy is that while government can provide stimuli to youth unemployment, the corporate world can play an important role in providing a bright future for the next generation of Australians through partnering schools. Beacon is not new to Port Stephens. Other high schools in my electorate involved in Beacon in 2011 are St Philips Christian College with 44 students, Tomaree High School with 223 students and Hunter River High School at Raymond Terrace with 120 students. When a signing has taken place the huge signed boards are proudly hung in the school's assembly hall so that future students can see the importance placed on the charter signing. The sign reads:
I willingly commit to achieving personal success through the Beacon Program.

I will pursue a positive pathway in further education, training or employment.
John Bartlett, my predecessor, was instrumental in introducing Beacon to Tomaree High School. He saw the name of the program evolve from Beacon to No Dole to Real Futures. John chaired the committee and attempted to pass it on to me when he retired from this place. I say attempted because John's passion for Real Futures, our Sister Cities committee and the RAAF Citizen of the Year Committee were such that I asked John to continue his roles, and he did so until his untimely death. The work done by the Committee of Tomaree Real Futures is of incalculable value to the young beneficiaries of the program.

Time does not allow me to mention all the committee members by name. However, I should recognise Port Stephens mayor and Real Futures deputy-chair Bob Westbury, who was recruited by John before he was elected to Port Stephens Council, as well as a recent benefactor and now treasurer, Jeff D'Albora. Most boaties in this place would know of Jeff D'Albora. I encourage all members to investigate, encourage and facilitate a Beacon Program in their electorate and join me in asking the Minister for Education for modest funding to be applied to each school committee. I guarantee the returns will far outweigh the costs. Beacon is purely about the future of our children and we should all support this successful and innovative program.
Craig Baumann MP
Member for Port Stephen

"…As I said on the day you all should be so proud of what you and the teachers, and students have achieved. I came back to the office talking about all your lovely young Year 10 students I had the pleasure of having lunch with and what they have been doing ..." (during the Polish Program)

Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz

Centre Manager

Raymond Terrace Market Place

"Tamboi Queen Cruises was proud to host the students from Irrawang High on the launch of the 2011 Whale Season. It was a real pleasure to have a group of students so well behaved and nicely attired on board MV Spirit. They did the school proud"
John Longworth
Tamboi Queen Cruises

"I want you to know how much I enjoyed my morning at Irrawang High School talking to your students at the Speed Careering event. As an ambassador for hairdressers I present the prospects and pathways for future stylists at many schools throughout the Hunter. Many students use this time to think of their future options so they can plan their study and subjects. At Irrawang High School I was overwhelmed with the interests of all the students. The students were extremely polite, well mannered and showed genuine regard.
Please ask me back next year as it was a pleasurable morning and I left with a tremendous sense of achievement."
Victoria Plant
Part Time Teacher

 "Well done Irrawang High School. I had a great morning at your Beacon Foundation's Inaugural Breakfast on Friday, 2nd July 2011.  It was encouraging to see the four youth ambassadors lead the morning welcome which they did admirably.  I was impressed by Principal Col Elliott's address, the presentation, service and food was exemplary and the Year 11 hospitality class is to be congratulated.  Thank you for a fantastic morning!"
Cr Bob Westbury
Port Stephens Council

"Attending Irrawang High School from 1993 to 1998 provided me with many valuable life experiences that have helped to shape me into the person I am today. I travelled Australia as part of the band, had the opportunity to participate in public speaking and debating teams across the region, developed excellent leadership skills as School Captain and learned to use them appropriately when the school sent me as a representative to 1998 Leadership Conference in Sydney. In addition to these activities I was provided with access to all facets of learning from some truly dedicated and well qualified teachers. I remember my years at Irrawang High fondly and am sure that they provided valuable grounding and were the catalyst for my current career and qualifications as a Solicitor."
Amy Martin
Associate Lawyer
Past Student

"Irrawang High School provides a great learning environment for students to grow, learn and aspire to a challenging and rewarding career path.
As a year 12 graduate in 2002, I moved from home to live on campus to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science (Podiatry) at the University of Western Sydney. Not only did my secondary education prepare me for the academic requirements to undertake a degree but the learning experiences and socialisation skills I had from my time at Irrawang high helped me progress from school student to an independent university student living away from home.
I have worked in most major Sydney public sector hospitals and private practice as a podiatrist taking on roles including educator, clinical trial research co-ordinator, and providing much needed services via the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Today, as a manager of a podiatry department and undertaking my Masters in Health Services Management, the role models from my previous teachers, their encouragement and the educational foundations from high school have allowed me to follow my health professional career."
Sarah McCosker,
Senior Podiatrist / Podiatry Manager
Past Student

 "The teachers and support staff at Irrawang High School are unbelievable! The unconditional support and encouragement I received, especially during my senior years, motivated me to do well in the HSC. Irrawang is also a fantastic school for sport and performing arts interests. My passion for drama, dance and music was encouraged by the staff and has led me to be part of the Young Actors Studio at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. I could not have done this without the life skills these wonderful people have given me. If you're willing to do your best, they'll push you because they know you're capable of even greater things!"
Kate Kohler
Past School Captain

" I began my secondary schooling in the top end of year 7. Without effective study skills, and being young for my year group, I began to quickly slip down. By year 9, I was not doing as well as I would have liked. I began to study. I had the support of some teachers who have retired, and some who remain to
this day. Teachers like Lucy Karanges, from science, who always gave me encouragement to study and ask me how I was going, are still doing this for students today. I had some amazing teachers and I was allowed the opportunity to 'do my best'. By the time I had reached year 10, I had climbed towards the top of the year group. I continued to study maths at a high level and after some indecision about which direction I would take, chose to study maths teaching.  With a few bumps along the way, I ended up right back there at Irrawang High. I look around at some amazing things that are going on in the school
that I once attended and I can see that it has changed with the times. Teachers care even more than before and everywhere you turn, there is support for the students. I see opportunities such as Project REAL, Literacy and Numeracy projects that are available, dance, volunteering, mentoring, community based programs and I know that the pride I feel for belonging to Irrawang High School is because it is a great school"

Sarah Bailey
Irrawang High School

" I have been involved with Irrawang High School off and on for many years. My two daughters attended the school and both have gone on to carve out successful careers thanks to the excellent schooling they received. More recently, I have been a supervisor for the external School Certificate and Higher School Certificate examinations at Irrawang High, taking on the position of Presiding Officer for the last two years. Generally I have found the conduct and attentiveness of the Year 12 students to be of a high order and there have been no instances of inappropriate behaviour during exams. Their concern and caring for each other has also been really special which augers well for their futures."
Ray Davies
Past Parent
Raymond Terrace

"I am currently in my second year at university doing a teaching degree specialising in high school English, and from what I see of other schools I believe Irrawang High is the forerunner of welfare programs. Many other schools don't have peer support, peer mediation or the excellent transition programs Irrrawang High does. The school's extra curricular activities are amazing, I was fortunate enough to start the cheer leading program in Year 8 and recently 5 students from Irrawang represented Australia at the world champs in Orlando Florida"
Tanae Luke
Past Student
Studying for a Teaching Degree at University of Newcastle

"I have to agree with what others have said in the past about what separates Irrawang from the rest is the definitely the staff and teachers there who are genuinely motivated in getting their students where they want to be while at the same time providing a comfortable and open environment. With its various resources and showcases, students always have a chance to show off their talents and even build new ones. And it is because of this accepting atmosphere that I find that out of all the High schools I've been enrolled in Irrawang is still my favourite.
Jenis Catic
Past School Captain
Studying for a BioMedical Degree at University of Newcastle

"My family was posted up to Port Stephens from Adelaide and I must say I am very happy with Irrawang High School. The support, follow up care and consideration for my two children have been brilliant. There is an open line of communication with the teachers and my children love going to school every day, as they have a great group of friends. I am more than happy to recommend this school."
Debra Crouch
Defence Parent
Raymond Terrace

"My children had opportunities at Irrawang that they probably would not have had at other schools. If they needed extra help, the teachers were always willing to put in extra time and assist after school and even in the holidays. If any issues arose they were dealt with promptly and efficiently."
Sherri Luke
Raymond Terrace


"Students from Irrawang High School are very committed to work experience, they are willing to engage and learn and always conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner in the kitchen."
Peter Hatton
Executive Chef
Scratchleys Restaurant

"I have found my work experience students from Irrawang High School to be well mannered and polite and I enjoy having them in the kitchen. I have never had any problems with a student from that school"
Kim Williams
Red-Eye Café
Raymond Terrace

"My kitchen team enjoys having students from Irrawang High School as they learn themselves whilst teaching. We have found Irrawang students to be receptive, punctual, clean and tidy and willing to learn, both in the kitchen and Front of House."
Darrin Welsh
Executive Chef
Tanilba Bay RSL
Tanilba Bay

"Port Stephens Community Care prides itself in its work with our community. We are committed to support our clients to allow them to live as they choose. To be able to do this we harness the efforts of many volunteers and work experience students from the community. The Irrawang High work experience students in particular, provide a wonderful level of communication for our aged clients. Time and time again we witness the level of understanding and care that is generated from these interactions. Our young participants gain an insight into the aged care agendas and our elderly clients learn to appreciate the warm qualities of our young people. In both cases the generation gap is minimised and positive growth emerges from the experience."
Jeanine Loudoun
Port Stephens Community Care
Raymond Terrace

"Recently Varley Tomago Operations hosted two Irrawang High School Students for Work Experience. They were allocated work in the Specialised Vehicles and in the Defence areas. Both young men had come to work well prepared, took the assignment seriously and received very positive reports. I spoke to them at the completion of their assignment and both appeared to enjoy their time here. One student was uncertain of where he wanted to take his career but appeared to enjoy the exposure to our workplace and was shown some of the more technical aspects in the design/engineering area to show him where options other than trades lie. From our perspective the door remains open for future work experience with us."
Mike Anear
HR Manager
Varley Operations

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