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Community & Business

23 August, 2021

Oakey State High School social enterprise project in state finals

An innovative program teaching a small group of Oakey State High School students to make, market and sell arts products has been announced as a state finalist in Queensland Education’s 2021 Showcase Awards.

OSHOBA Social Enterprise program coordinator Terri Delander-Curle and principal Danny Keenan show off some of the items made by the Oakey students.

The program, OSHOBA (Oakey State High - Own It Believe It Achieve It) Social Enterprise, is one of two schools contesting the The Bevan Brennan ‘Every Child Needs a Champion’ Award.

Commenced in 2019, the program is the brainchild of Terri Delander-Curle who came up with the idea as a novel way to engage students and increase their attendance and participation.

She said the program challenges the students to design products, such as coasters, jewellery, stationery, planters and other accessories and make them out of a range of art and craft materials.

She said the students then promote and sell the items at markets, selected retailers and school events.

Ms Delander-Curle said as well as giving students a hands-on course that contributes to their results, the program builds lasting skills for the young people.

“They are learning about literacy, numeracy, use of IT, visual arts, business concepts which are all linked to the curriculum,” she said.

“They also build on those soft skills like team work and self esteem and get those feelings of success and achievement.”

In addition to countless stories of student successes in the program, a survey conducted with participants found all students attained a satisfactory achievement or higher, with 100 per cent  attendance for the class and a marked decrease in suspensions and behaviour incidents as well as over 87 per cent of students reporting that they looked forward to attending the class.

Oakey State High School principal Danny Keenan said the benefits of the program are clear.

He said to be named finalists in the award is a massive achievement for the school. 

“This is the Oscars of education world. This is the premier award,” he said.

“There are 1,200 schools in the state, every single one could have entered this award and we are down to two.”

Ms Delander-Curle said winning the award would just be the beginning with the team hard at work expanding the program.

She said it is early days but the students are looking at new and exciting products as well as more ways to sell their merchandise.

Judging of the awards is expected in early October with the winners to be announced on October 29.

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