Teens dig deep to lend helping hand

TEAM EFFORT: Some of the students atop the huge mulch mound they lay around the gardens at Sunnyhills. Photo supplied.

It was a bluebird day, and quite frankly, the kind of weather you’d expect would send teenagers on holiday flocking to the local beach.

Instead, 38 students joined seven Rotarians at Sunnyhills Primary School on April 26 to give the school a makeover – courtesy of Rotary Pakuranga in partnership with Pakuranga College’s Interact Club and Rotaract Pakuranga.

Over the course of a few hours, the groups re-painted two coats on the school fence and lay mulch around new gardens before winter sets in.

Rotaract president and civil engineering student, Alex De Guzman, said she had interesting conversations over the course of the day with Interact students who were curious about university.

Co-presidents of the Interact Club, Crystal Leung and Sam Chen, credited Interact as a fantastic platform providing students with opportunities to help and serve within the community – some of whom attended Sunnyhills and were keen to give back.

The sentiment was echoed by event organiser and Pakuranga Rotary member Sylvie Wilkinson.

“With so much talk about the current selfish teens glued to devices, this willing community service is quite refreshing and delightful,” she said.

When Mrs Wilkinson discovered the school needed garden work done, she thought the school holidays would be a perfect time to bring the groups together for a combined working bee, and invited Rotarians to assist on the day by providing a little know-how.

“It’s the first time we’ve done a project like this with all three levels – school, uni and oldies.

“The thing that delighted me so much was the willingness of the two groups of young people to give up a day of their precious holidays and get out there to help others.

“We read so much about this age group having their thumbs permanently attached to some type of device, so to have this many of them here working hard and getting grubby should serve as a comfort and a joy to the older folk in our community.”

Sunnyhills’ Dean of Learning Sue Venville expressed her gratitude on behalf of the school and said they were “so grateful” for the work that had been done that day.

The gratitude was mutual, said Mrs Wilkinson, who spoke of how delightful it was to work in collaboration with the school.

“Sunnyhills has been wonderful over the working bee. They sent us all their Health & Safety briefing, the Principal emailed her thanks all the way from Korea, the PTA brought us morning tea and the caretaker was there to guide us all. It is very gratifying to pull out all stops for such a well run and appreciative school.”