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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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16 December, 2020

Central West 'village' raises student spirits

CURIOSITY, courage, connectedness and vulnerability were the four key values upheld by Outback students who convened at Longreach State High School for Central West Health and Wellbeing Day.

By Hamish Hart

Parents may not have welcomed the extra washing, but Central West students were grinning ear-to-ear after taking part in the colour run.

Students from Longreach School of Distance Education and Aramac and Winton State Schools joined LSHS for a day of motivational classes including yoga, martial arts, basketball, drone sessions, and women’s and men’s mental health, as well as master classes for art, dance, cooking, rugby and photography.

Special guest speakers Daniel Walker, of Longreach, former NRL player, Preston Campbell, and current AFLW Brisbane Lions player, Breanna Koenen, also talked about how students could grow and discover themselves through 20-minute TED talks.

Students took to the oval for a colour run to conclude the day, where they were doused with coloured powder courtesy of their teachers, all while local firefighters cooled them off with firehoses.

The Wellbeing Day was the brainchild of LSHS guidance officer, Shaun Theiber, who said he wanted Central West students to connect with each other following a disconnected year.

“I wanted to provide kids with a meaningful and purposeful experience regarding mental health and wellbeing, and to break down the stigma associated with it,” Mr Theiber said. “I wanted the kids to create connections with people across the Central West.

“The initiative began in response to Covid-19. When the pandemic happened, everything in the Central West was cancelled. I thought it was really important to put on something the community could look forward to.

“It was amazing to see so many people from the Central West give up their time and invest in our students’ lives.

“It takes a village to raise a child and its important people remember that. We don’t have to like each other to love each other.”


Mr Theiber said he was immensely proud of students who invested in the day and managed to persevere through a year like no other.

“Feedback from students was really powerful,” he said. “I had some of the toughest kids, who generally struggle with being vulnerable, come up to me and say that this is exactly what we needed.

“We dealt with heavy topics such as grief, loss, adversity and self-reflection. We cut the fairy floss away and had deep and meaningful conversations which can be draining, so to have an event like the colour run was a great way to end the day.

“Our students had every opportunity and reason to give up this year, but they’re still standing. They will be talking about this year from now on.

“I want them to remember that there are only two things in life you can control – your thoughts and actions.

“If we invest in our student cohort and help them develop their character and capacity to overcome adversity, we put them in the best stead to go out into the world and live meaningful and purposeful lives.”

Mr Theiber thanked all students, teachers, class instructors, speakers and members of the community who helped make the inaugural Central West Health and Wellbeing Day possible.


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