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Canberra Tour 2013

​Worongary Year 7's visit Canberra 2013

​DAY 1

Play music: “Life is a highway… and we’re gonna ride it…all night long…” 
Eager year seven students were at school way before 7 o’clock, for the 7:30pm meeting time.  Not sure if the kids were excited to go or the parents excited to get rid of them, but excitement surely filled the night air.  We were boarded and ready for departure on time, without incident…well almost…a call from a thoughtful parent came through, as we entered the M1, alerting us that Mr Coffey’s luggage was still on the footpath at school…D’oh!!


Re-play music:  “Life is a highway… and we’re gonna ride it…all night long…”  And that we did!  Arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed straight into the heart of Circular Quay for a late breakfast of bacon, eggs and juice… students were hungry, keen for a feed and keen to explore the zoo.  We picked up a couple of unique animal species known as Mr Mac and Mrs Mac, who were welcomed additions to the WSS team and Zoo visit…these two were flying species, however, and left us to head for the airport as the rest of us departed on all four wheels.


Exhausted from a night of travel, a day of excessive walking around Circular Quay, the Opera House, the Zoo and the ferry, we carried our weary bodies to the bus to travel on the highway once more with Canberra in our sights.  Zoo animal souvenirs seemed to entertain our kids for at least part of the journey.  Team Karaoke ran amok in one bus whilst the other bus relaxed with a movie.
We arrived late in Canberra, meaning we went straight to the dinner hall for fish, chips and salad, followed by ice cream and topping.  Yummo!  Teachers and kids were not concerned, though, as they were all too eager to set up cabins and settle in with their new room-mates for the week!  The quote from the girls for the night, “Algebra is easier than making our own beds!”  And the boys were confused about the ‘hygiene’ paper strip across the toilet, mistaking it for an ‘out of order sign’.  It seems, domestic duties may not be the forte of this era’s 12 year old boys and girls!


Something that must be said of all of our students on the 2013 Canberra trip, so far… their behaviour is exemplary, their manners impeccable and their enthusiasm wonderful.  Let’s hope we maintain this throughout the entire trip… I am sure that we will!  Parents be proud … but maybe teach them a thing or two about domestic chores when they return home.
Long day, long night…Good night!  Until tomorrow… 
 
Day 2
Could these really be the BEST EVER year seven students who have ever embraced the Canberra trip?  It just may be true.  After settling down to sleep quickly and easily, in freshly made, neat and tidy cabins, our students woke with enthusiasm, despite cameras in faces and loud banging from teachers in the now famous tradition of ‘rude awakenings’.  Students were ready in record time for breakfast of cereals, toast and pancakes.  Organised students, all dressed correctly in the new green Worongary Canberra hoodies, looking smart and ready to embrace the day.  This is just the start…
We arrived at Parliament House, enjoyed a guided tour and a role play in the House of Representatives where students participated in a mock passing of law…our students…OUR Worongary year seven students, answered questions with confidence and knowledge, then asked questions of the tour guide that showed maturity and intelligence…were we the teachers proud?  Yes we were!


From Parliament House we drove to Mt Ainslee Lookout for a fantastic snapshot of the view and quickly reboarded the bus before we snap froze instead!  Onward to the War Memorial gardens for a lunch of sandwiches and fruit.  Nutritiously sufficient, but some of us were craving the comfort of warm food in the freezing weather and we topped up with hot chips and pies.  Felt like a cuddle from the inside.
Inside the War Memorial we were split into groups for a guided tour of key war artefacts, a visit to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the memorial wall, and a great interactive play in the discovery zone, including submarines and helicopter simulators, which kept the students amused.  For the first time ever we were invited to participate in ‘The Last Post’ ceremony at the end of the day.  This required our students to stand in silence beside the pool of remembrance for fifteen minutes prior to the ceremony starting.  Cold, is not a sufficient enough word to describe the conditions.  Feet numbingly freezing is more appropriate.  Our students stood proud and tall regardless of the freezing conditions.  The ceremony began with the playing of the bagpipes, and we sang the National Anthem, we listened to the story of a fallen soldier and looked on with pride as Mr O, and our school captains laid a wreath beside the pool of remembrance, before the ceremony concluded with the bugle playing of the Last Post.  As a school team of teachers we collectively and independently have never felt so proud of our students.  Their behaviour throughout the ceremony was commendable and praised by the public around us.  In fact, even Mrs Jensen, had a tear in her eye, when she spoke of the children’s exemplary behaviour.  It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of the Last Post ceremony.  A special event that Worongary staff and students will never forget.

Our culinary delights awaited us on our return.  Bangers and mash, the fare of the evening, followed by custard and peaches.  Immediately after dinner, 7M and 7Y students, along with Mr Coffey, Ms Garvey and Mrs Collie, went back to the city for Laser tag.  Of course the teachers were the target…Mr Coffey competitive till the end and usually victorious, Mrs Collie put up a good fight but with a lot of screaming and stomping, Ms Garvey admitted defeat and stood an open target.  Meanwhile back at camp, Mr Oakley’s warriors were prowling the cabins… boys time to the max!  Ms V and Ms Jensen enjoyed TV time and girl chats in the girls’ cabins.  All students were in bed by the time the Laser tag buses arrived back.  Good night one and all.
Are we proud of our students?  YES WE ARE!!!!  Are they great ambassadors for our school community?  YES THEY ARE!!!!
 
 
Day 3
The tune of our good morning song plays:  “Good morning, good morning, good morning, it’s time to rise and shine… “Rising yes… shining no!  Today we awoke to a downpour of rain, and temperatures of zero degrees.  We were heartened to enjoy a cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, baked beans, spaghetti, mushrooms, tomato and toast.  Just what we needed for the cold weather and big day ahead.

Our group split in separate directions today for the High Court, the Mint, the National Archive, and the National Art Gallery.  In the High Court we were lucky enough to witness a sitting in the Court of Appeal.  Fascinating and confusing at the same time.  Money, money, money…the theme of the mint…we witnessed $75 000 worth of coins being made in less than a minute.  Students were once again commended for their behaviour and ability to ask questions in the National Archives.  The tour guide praising our year seven students for being able to ask more complex questions than the secondary school students.  Similarly in the National Gallery a tour guide commented on the intelligence and engagement of our students.  Congratulations to our students and to our year seven teachers who have prepared them so well! 


We must tell you though, that whilst the National Gallery stimulated our sense of sight, the diet and experiences of the week have stimulated all five senses!
Due to the rain today, we enjoyed a lunch of pizzas on the bus… a bit different, but nobody complained – Pizza, yum!  An earlier finish for the day meant that we could return to our cabins in time for an afternoon play – including tiggy and dancing games.  Kids really enjoyed the time to have free time and a run around.  Everyone enjoyed their dinner of cottage pie, peas and corn, followed by jelly and ice cream.  We concluded dinner with a special Japanese game of ‘heads down, thumbs up’.
After dinner 7B and 7R headed to Laser Tag with Ms Jensen, Mr O and Ms V.  Mr O is the self-proclaimed champion of Laser Tag, although rumour has it, he was beaten by a girl!  Ms Jensen was so competitive during a match of air hockey, she pulled a hami… not sure how exactly, but she has put herself out of action for the snow.


Ms Garvey, Mr Coffey and Mrs Collie let the children ran amok back at the cabins, many in onesies, and one of our students who prefers routine summed it up with, “Teachers, what’s happening?”  Never fear parents, all are safe, well and most importantly happy. 
Early night tonight, ready for the snow tomorrow…”Let it snow, let it snnnnow”
 
Day 4
Let it snow…let it snow…the long-awaited snow day has arrived!  Up and organised for breakfast at 6am, we filled our tummies with cereal and pancakes and then excitedly boarded the bus for our journey to the snow.  The journey is over three hours of driving and we needed to stop in Cooma for supplies, and then in Jindabyne for more supplies, before arriving in Smiggins snow fields to collect and dress in our snow gear for the day.  Mr O looked a treat in his white thermal underwear, and danced a jig for all to see.
A quick lunch of hotdogs and chips fulfilled our appetites, but the priority was to get into and onto the snow.  It was a stunning day, sun-shining, snow soft and thick, and temperatures comfortable.  As soon as we were given the go ahead, all children and adults ran with excitement up the hills to play in the snow, throw snowballs and toboggan down the mountain.
There were spills and thrills to be had by all.  Even Ms V faced her fears to toboggan down the mountain with the video camera in hand.  Mr O crash tackled everyone who crossed his path.  Mr Coffey copped snowballs from all directions.  Mrs Jensen was the queen of snow ball making and throwing.  Ms Garvey and Mrs Collie ran up the mountain and slid down on toboggans several times.  The teachers had an absolute ball…and we think the kids did too.  Not really.   We know the children had a fabulous time.  I think they will be raving about the snow fun for some time to come!


When our time on the snow was complete, we soothed our weary minds and bodies with a hot chocolate and lamington before hitting the road again for our three hour journey home.  Although we were tired we managed to sing karaoke for the entire journey.  I’ve never seen arms pumped so high – we definitely have many party animals in the making.  We enjoyed songs from every era – one bus preferred singing ‘American Pie’ several times; whilst the other preferred the party songs of today!
Back at our accommodation, we enjoyed a large meal of chicken schnitzel and veges, and a special treat of birthday cake to celebrate the birthday of one of our year seven students!  Off to our cabins, to pack up our bags.  Mixed emotions as our trip is drawing to a close, as children are keen to see their families, but not keen for the adventures to end! Looking forward to our final day tomorrow.
Day 5
It is hard to believe that today is our final day in Canberra.  With still so much to see and do, we started the day at 6am, to pack cases and pack up rooms, before going to breakfast at 6:45am.  We were pleased to be enjoying a cooked breakfast of toast, baked beans, scrambled eggs and bacon.  We thanked the staff for their hospitality, by singing them our school song.  The staff were delighted by our performance. 
Our day of sightseeing began at Old Parliament House where we learnt the story of democracy in Australia, and conducted a referendum to elect our leading fruit.  Our students, once again, impressed us with their knowledge and ability to answer questions.  One child, however, stumbled when reading the electorate name Maranoa… and pronounced it marijuana instead – a complete tongue twister, but gave us a giggle.  We warmed up with a quick morning tea and play in the rose gardens.  Re-fueled and full of energy, we headed to the Australian Institute of Sport where we had a tour of the swimming facilities, the gym, and volleyball courts.  A highlight of the tour was witnessing the awesome height and talent of The Opals in training on the basketball courts.  Kids enjoyed challenging themselves on the interactive sports challenges, especially when they beat the teachers!  Outside the AIS we ate our pies and sausage rolls for lunch and then boarded the bus to head to the CSIRO.
CSIRO stands for Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation.  In the CSIRO we learnt about scientific research for medical purposes; we studied cells and bacteria, and met some interesting insects!  We were still hungry for scientific fun, so we made our way to Questacon, where students could throw themselves into a number of science experiments, including a giant drop and 360 degree spinner.    The gift shop at Questacon is always a hit with our students and today was no different.  Students bought an array of weird and wonderful scientific devices to bring home to you!
Play music: “Life is a highway and we’re gonna ride it…all night long”.  Back on the bus, Gold Coast bound, definitely riding that highway all night long.  A stop for dinner at McDonalds on the way, will fill our bellies and hopefully send our tired minds and bodies to sleep soundly for the long drive.
I speak honestly when I say that our children’s behaviour has been exceptional and that they have been an incredible group to take on tour, with their ability to ask and answer questions with maturity and intelligence, participate with enthusiasm in every activity and use manners at all times.  We have also had a huge amount of fun, frivolity, laughs, dancing, singing, mischief, jokes and games.  Kids and teachers alike have enjoyed themselves to the maximum every day.
Of course I must thank the teachers on tour for their enthusiasm, professionalism and sense of fun.  It is not easy to give up your own lives to be away for a week with our students in Canberra.  The teachers have been nothing short of incredible, caring for the children in every manner of the day and ensuring everyone is happy and having fun!  We have had some fun and funny times along the way.  Thank you Mr Coffey, Mr O, Ms Garvey, Ms Jensen and Ms V – you have been a great team to tour with… can’t wait to do it again!!!???!!!
Farewell Canberra tour 2013…thanks for the memories!






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