At the heart of Wheatbelt town Beverley – and many other communities like it – the school is a place where the town’s youngest residents build lifelong relationships, learn about the world and their place in it, and discover how they might make an impact in the future.
Led by teacher Sarah Aynsley, students at Beverley District High School have embarked on a project to ensure that the history of their special town is preserved and passed on to generations to come, while also learning invaluable skills spanning across literacy, technology and science.
Mrs Aynsley said the school prides itself on building close relationships with school families and encouraging collaborative partnerships within the community.
The Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 students have created a podcast series titled Beverley DHS – Our Town, Our Country. There are 14 unique episodes, each led by a different student, exploring different aspects of the town, its history, and why it is so loved by the community.
"The aim of the project was to encourage our Talented and Gifted students out of their comfort zones, to encourage independence in their learning, and to create an end-product they could proudly share with the wider community,” Mrs Aynsley said.
In episode 2, Year 3 student Charlie Hagan delves into the history of policing in Beverley. She interviews a local resident Nat Kilpatrick, who tells a legendary tale about her great, great grandfather, who was the first ever police officer in Beverley.
Charlie also speaks to Darrell Hagan, the current Officer in Charge of the local Beverley Police station to compare how policing in country WA has changed over the years.
Year 4 student Abigail Bailey leads episode 7, with an in-depth interview with town icon Mrs Mary Blechynden about the Beverley Lawn Tennis Club. Mrs Blechynden is the club’s only female life-member who started playing tennis at the club in 1944.
Principal of Beverley District High School, Adrian Lister, said the project has been a fantastic learning experience for students.
“This project took learning outside of the classroom and formed positive relationships and partnerships with the wider local community,” Mr Lister said.
“Our students have connected their learning to real-life people, and their stories, histories and experiences.
“It has certainly captured the imagination of our students and translated into strong links with local community people, groups and organisations.”
Other episodes cover topics such as farming in the area, stories of the fire station, history of the school, tourism in the town, wildflowers and conversations with residents.