Tea Gardens Public School Student Parliament opens for 2024

(Back row L-R) Parliamentary Advisor Krista Barrie, Sue Estens, Councillor Paul Sandilands, Daryl Martin, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, Bulahdelah Central School Principal George Frangos, Tea Gardens Public School Principal Mark Clemson, (Front row L-R) Ivy-Pearl Carter-Hughes, Danyelle Fitzgerald, Ebony Hestelow, Kora Constantino, Stella Jacobsen, Hannah Price, and Ali Partridge.

THE OPENING of the 35th Student Parliament was made official at Tea Gardens Public School on Thursday 30 May.

In the presence of several special guests, including the former NSW Governor, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, the Year 6 students who make up the Government, and the Year 5 students who make up the Opposition, were all formally confirmed in their roles heading the democratic student body.

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“This is a remarkable milestone in our school’s history, as for the 35th time we come together, give students a voice, and they can enact real change,” Principal Mark Clemson announced in his Parliamentary role as Governor-General.

“Student Ministers are elected by their peers, and this sets the foundation for a collaborative school environment.”

New Parliamentary Advisor Ms Barrie and the dedicated ‘Senators’ (staff members) were also thanked for their hard work, as were the parent volunteers.

Once the formalities were over, the true calling of the Student Parliament was underway, as, although this was the official opening, it has been running for over a term already, and some motions have already been tabled.

The students have recognised the need to promote P&C volunteering in the community, as well as work around the multiple delays in the cross-country as suffered by recent rainy weather.

Other motions discussed were the use of rewards to encourage student attendance, cleaning up the nearby forest for use in science and outdoor lessons, and allowing the participation of Stage 2 students in the coming tennis gala, all of which were carried, some even with cheers.

Many of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet were well-spoken, as were the several Honourable Members participating in Question Time.

Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair was impressed with the Parliament, saying it was “good for students to learn how to run a dignified Parliament”.

“You are being prepared to be citizens of this great country of ours,” he said.

“I like to think that someone here, in this school gathering, will one day be asked to be Governor, like I was on the farm at Tea Gardens.”

Other special guests included former Tea Gardens Public School Principals Daryl Martin and Sue Estens (first and fourth ‘Governor-Generals’, respectively), Principal George Frangos from Bulahdelah Central School, and MidCoast Councillor Paul Sandilands.

TGPS 2024 Student Government: Kora Constantino (Prime Minister), Ebony Hestelow (Deputy PM and Minister for Special Events), Ivy-Pearl Carter-Hughes (Minister for Sport and Recreation), Danyelle Fitzgerald (Minister for Education), Stella Jacobsen (Minister for the Environment), Hannah Price (Minister for Building and Health), Ali Partridge (Minister for Student Wellbeing), and Asher Gimbert (Minister for Transport).

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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