Hanife Coskun is usually not one to comment on articles shared via Facebook, but news Griffith’s schools would merge prompted the mother of five to speak up.
Following a debate splitting the community about Griffith’s secondary schooling options the city finally had it’s answer on Tuesday, with news both schools would merge but retain their sites sweetened by the announcement of $25 million in funding.
As former Griffith woman Mrs Coskun saw the news on Facebook and noticed a familiar pattern.
The proposal to merge the high schools in a city is a process she says her current hometown of Shepparton finalised just last year, also met with initial resistance. “And it really has worked really well,” she said on Thursday. “Even the people who weren’t optimistic about it have turned around.”
There are four state-run high schools in Shepparton and all now part of an alliance, sharing their resources under the direction of one executive officer and with the motto “better together”.
“Students are able to go to classes that their own school doesn’t offer,” Mrs Coskun explained on Thursday.
For her this meant was when she made a decision to move her son from one school to another he was able to return to continue his studies in Japanese. “At his new school they studied Arabic and Persian, so because he went into year 10 he was able to keep going back to Shepparton High for those classes,” she said.
Now as her 15-year-old son is choosing his electives she can see only benefits to the amount of choices and opportunities he has in front of him.
“Because there are so many more of them [students] it means classes are able to be really specific, they can study things like engineering or mechanics," she said. “It really broadens what they can study.”
Mrs Coskun said the benefits didn’t stop with educational opportunities. “They do interstate camps, they went to the Northern Territory last year, there were only about 12 of them from each school so together they had the numbers for the excursion, but without each other definitely not,” she said.
“It was the same with the debutante ball, schools were getting to the point where there weren’t enough numbers.”
Having attended the same high school as her sons years 15 years before Mrs Coskun praised the effect the alliance was having on the Shepparton community. “We didn’t even know the kids from the other schools, whereas the kids now – my son knows kids from every public school,” she said. “I think that building that network is really important and it’s good for the community.”
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