Federal Education Minister meets with St Euphemia College students at Parliament House

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Year 6 students from St Euphemia College in Sydney’s south-western suburb of Bankstown met with the Federal Minister for Education and Youth, Jason Clare MP, at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday while on school camp.

The students took the opportunity to share with Mr Clare their current project of converting a 20-foot shipping container into a Library for Lismore South Public School.

The Member for Blaxland acknowledged the meeting in a Facebook post.

“When Lismore South Public School’s library was destroyed in the floods, students at St Euphemia College Bankstown decided to raise funds to send them a shipping container converted into ‘A Library of Resources’,” the Minister wrote.

“It was great to catch up with these fantastic students in Parliament House today.”

Speaking with The Greek Herald in May this year, the students said the $30,000 fundraising project would see a metallic shipping container converted into a mobile library of resources and functional classroom that will then be donated to the flood-ravaged school in regional New South Wales.

“We’re going to fill it up with books and also pack it with desks, stationery, whiteboards, laptops and anything else the school might have lost in the floods,” year 7 student, Irini Ifandoudas, said at the time.

WATCH St Euphemia College’s Director of Learning, Mr Matthew Panayotopoulosexplain how the Library for Lismore came to be

Since then, the students have worked tirelessly to raise funds, through various at-school initiatives like lemonade stands, bake sales and crazy hair days, as well as through reaching out to community members and organisations.

Having secured generous donations from organisations like McDonald’s, Entertainment Park, First Education and AFL team GWS Giants, the college’s Director of Learning, Mr Matthew Panayotopoulos, said they are well and truly on the way to “meeting and beating the $30,000 target.”

“This project is incredibly exciting because it’s teaching our kids that whenever they see injustice or inequality, they have the power to fix it,” Mr Panayotopoulos told The Greek Herald.

“Helping Lismore South is just the beginning.”

Pointing to the student’s meeting with Mr Clare on Tuesday, Mr Panayotopoulos said it was a validating experience for the children.

“Mr Clare was inspired by the students’ philanthropy and acknowledged their leadership to be changemakers,” he concluded.

“We all left feeling blessed knowing we live in a democratic society where the voices of children are received with genuine warmth and heedfulness.”

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