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Best-selling Diary of a Wombat
author Jackie French achieved a near
impossible feat recently at Tenison
Woods College in Mt Gambier – she
had nearly 1500 children from nine
South-east schools and kindergartens
glued to her every word.
Jackie read The Brothers Quibble,
by Aaron Blabey, to the children at
the college as part of the National
Simultaneous Storytime project which
involved more than 460,000 children
reading the same book at the same
time (11am CST) on May 27.
“It was an amazing experience, even
watching the children get off the bus,
they weren’t just walking they were
bouncing,” she said.
“Humans are natural story tellers and
whatever their age, they love listening
to stories,” she said. “You don’t even
have to be a particularly good story
teller to keep them interested.”
The mass reading at Tenison Woods
College was one of only two national
presentations held throughout
In addition to being named 2015
Senior Australian of the Year, Jackie
is also the best-selling author of over
140 books in 36 languages, including
the iconic Diary of a Wombat and
Hitler’s Daughter. She was appointed
the National Children’s Laureate for
2014-2015 and is on a nationwide
mission to promote a love of reading
by encouraging others to ‘Share a
As part of her 2015 regional and
remote touring program Jackie
participated in the large multi-school
event in Mount Gambier, organised by
the Mount Gambier Public Library and
held at Tenison Woods College.
“When you give a child a book you’re
giving them a tool to create their
future and also the power to envisage
and create that future,” she said.
“A story is not just a story, it’s about
what children learn from it – the more
powerful the book the more powerful
National Simultaneous Storytime is an
annual campaign run by the Australian
Library and Information Association
to encourage more young Australians
to read and enjoy books. Now in its
15th year, the event promotes the
value of reading and literacy using
an Australian children's book that
explores age appropriate themes, and
addresses key learning areas of the
Novel storytime enthralls thousands
ONCE UPON A TIME: (L-R) Tenison Woods College student Elliot Rossouw and Ava
Prosperi-Porta were among the 1500 South East students listening to author Jackie French
read as part of National Simultaneous Storytime.
Port Pirie teenager Leo Taylor raised more than $1000
for international Catholic aid agency Caritas Australia
recently by dining on less than $2 a day for 25 days.
His donation through Caritas’ annual Project
Compassion fundraiser could train up to 15 people in
Nepal on how to breed and sell fish.
The St Mark’s College student experienced firsthand
what it was like to live in poverty. For the duration of
Lent, he spent just $10 a week on food and drink to
be in solidarity with children, women and men living in
“Over the first and second week, I learned what
‘hungry’ really means,” said 13-year-old Leo (pictured).
“It isn’t that you just ate and you want more food,” he
said. “It is that you haven’t eaten in a while. I lived on
less than $2 a day for five days a week, excluding the
weekends. I was lucky I got the weekends off because
the poor live in poverty every single day and hour.”
He said his meals consisted of rice, toast, weet-bix and
Hundreds of Catholic schools in every state and region
in Australia, along with thousands of parishioners and
supporters across Australia, have dug deep to raise
money for Project Compassion 2015. Last year the
appeal raised nearly $11 million for Caritas Australia.
Head of Community Engagement, Helen Forde, said
the generosity of schools, parishes and supporters,
coupled with innovative fundraising ideas during Project
Compassion has been inspiring.
“Money raised during Project Compassion will
transform the lives of many of the most marginalised
globally, enabling Caritas Australia to work alongside
communities over the long-term in Asia, Africa, the
Pacific, Latin America and with first Australians,” said
Ms Forde said.
Leo hungry for the poor
St Teresa’s School Brighton Year 3/4 teacher Lauren
Buchanan (above) was recently voted South Australian
Athlete of the Year and won the Female Short Sprint Award
at the South Australian Athletics League Dinner.
Lauren, a parent of two girls, Matilda, 5, and Willow, 2, also
won the 2014 Bay Sheffield Women’s Gift 120 Metres. The
Bay Sheffield is South Australia’s most prestigious foot race
attracting the best runners in Australia to Glenelg every
December. The famous South Australian race has been held
every year since 1887 on the day South Australia celebrates
its birthday, December 28 (Proclamation Day).
Lauren also came first in the Brighton Gift 120 Metres and
Sacred Heart Women’s 70 metres event. She is a member
of the Coastal Districts Athletics club coached by Luke
Hildyard, a teacher at Sacred Heart College.
St Teresa’s PE coordinator Jamie Mulcahy said it had been
an amazing year for Lauren and the whole school community
was “so proud of this excellent teacher, super mum and
delightful work colleague”.
A class above
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