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International Exchange a Winner

26th June 2008

 

Remember in Round One we told you about the overseas team? A bunch of wide-eyed students from Singapore who’d been in Australia for only a week, landed a gig racing at the first round of the 2008 Series. Well, we’ve followed up with the team to find out a little more. Our overseas correspondent has just returned from sunny Singapore with this report…

After many months of planning, Modbury Heights Design & Technology teacher Roger Button and Internationalism co-coordinator Julie Witherington were able to successfully integrate their programs to allow students from Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore to compete in the Pedal Prix here in Australia.  Hwa Chong Institution, a school of over 4,000 students is a sister school to The Heights School and the two schools have regular student exchanges.
A week before the race, the students and their teacher, Mr. Hock Chye Tan, arrived at Adelaide airport where they were met by their host students and families, some of whom were also involved in the Pedal Prix for the first time.
 
“The Hwa Chong students went through a very steep learning curve as they only had a few days to prepare for the event,” said Roger.  “Getting accustomed to riding a recumbent bicycle, learning the race rules, flags all required attending team meetings, practice and planning. Added to all of their usual cultural and classroom experiences this kept the Hwa Chong students all very busy. “
 
Despite a couple of spills at the race and pit stops for repairs, the Hwa Chong team completed the 6-hour event and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Many of the Hwa Chong students did not own their own bicycle at home as Singapore does not have a lot of open spaces to ride.
 
Both teams were well supported by more experienced Heights Pedal Prix senior students who managed a wide range of logistical tasks.
 
Before the Singapore students went home they were each presented with a Certificate of Participation and Team Photo from the event at a presentation ceremony back at school.
 
But more than that, what a memory to take home. Right now, back in Singapore, a student is telling his mates, “You know, those Aussies have this amazing race…”
 
Back in Australia, we talked more to Roger Button about the program they run at the Heights.
 
“Many teams do not have the time, funding, space, facilities, expertise or support from their school to design and construct a new H.P.V. each year, but the pedal prix team program can still be a very worthwhile program in any school,” Roger said.  “Instead of providing a challenge for students interested in Design & Technology, other innovative ways this program can benefit the school community include:
 
Student Exchange Teams:  Inviting/sponsoring teams from other schools is a great way for team members to make new friends and develop a relationship with another school.
Fundraising for charity:  The Heights have used 2 MurrayBridge events to raise money for World Vision.
Parental Involvement:  Parents are keen to get involved in a range of Pedal Prix activities, from design, construction, fundraising to simply cooking the BBQ at the event. It certainly develops healthy relationships between teachers, students and parents.
Student Mentoring:  Many senior students continue to stay involved in the Pedal Prix right through to year 12 and can be utilised as team leaders and mentors to junior students even after they leave school. An old scholar’s team has evolved in 2008.
Develop school pride:  Provide an opportunity for students to represent their school in an interschool event.
Unite differing learning areas:  P.E., Home Economics, Art and Technology can all contribute to achieve a common goal.
Create links with local industry and retailers:  Sponsors in the local community can be invited to attend the events and presentation nights afterwards.”
 
It’s great, isn’t it, to see the Pedal Prix being introduced to new cultures? Keep this going and we’ll be an exhibition sport at the 2012 Olympics.
 



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