Maryborough Education Centre is the latest school to join the Ourschool alumni program.

Photo: Caroline Milburn, Ourschool CEO and co-founder, met with MEC principal David Sutton last year to discuss how Ourschool could help MEC establish an alumni program.

David Sutton, MEC’s principal, said the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and schools adapting to remote classroom learning, didn’t deter him from subscribing to the Ourschool service.

“A supportive alumni community isn’t something you build overnight – it’s a long-term objective that can deliver lifelong results,” he said.

Mr Sutton said the appointment of the Ourschool alumni coordinator, Wayne Belcher, gave MEC the ability to prepare the groundwork to establish the alumni program.

“The preliminary work of setting up our alumni database and making the preliminary contacts with alumni can happen with the coordinator working from home.  

“And later in the term, we’ll be looking for creative ways to keep students motivated. That’s where our alumni can help us – we can bring them into our online classrooms to enhance student learning.”

Wayne Belcher is MEC’s former careers teacher. His first task will be finding and connecting with former students who attended MEC and MEC’s foundation schools – Maryborough Regional College, Maryborough High School and Maryborough Technical College.

Wayne is well placed to grow the alumni network because he, his family and many of his friends are alumni. Wayne is a former school captain of Maryborough Technical College.

Maryborough has a proud history in the development of public school education. Maryborough High School was one of Victoria’s first high schools. It opened in 1912.

Ourschool is supported by funding partners that include the state government, philanthropic foundations and pro bono supporters.

Caroline Milburn, Ourschool’s CEO and co-founder, said the partial school closures had not dimmed the enthusiasm that alumni and teachers felt towards the Ourschool program. During the pandemic, Ourschool alumni coordinators are organising alumni to be guest speakers in online Q&A classrooms.

Ms Milburn said Ourschool had submitted a modest state budget proposal to the Victorian government for the 2020 state budget, seeking funding of $150,000 per year to help continue Ourschool’s work.

“We understand that the state budget is under enormous strain,” Ms Milburn said. “But we hope the government will continue to be a generous supporter of a program that inspires students with relatable role models, builds public school pride and strengthens the school system that the government runs.”

To follow Ourschool on Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/OurschoolAlumni/

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