Mudgee High School's class of 2020 concluded their year of fundraising by donating a final total of $17,251.20 to Mudgee St Vincent de Paul, to be used for drought relief in the local region.
Carol Jones of Mudgee St Vinnie's expressed her gratitude for the students' efforts, because bouncing back from the drought isn't something that occurs when it starts raining again.
"The difference would be huge for people on the land, because it really is a two-year recovery. The biggest problem is that so many are over mortgaged and all of the bills are still coming in," she said.
"So we feel absolutely blessed to be chosen by Year 12 for their fundraising."
At the Presentation Assembly, MHS vice-captain Ella Werth's address reflected on the cohort's fundraising, during which they had to overcome the added difficulty of the pandemic.
The campaign began smoothly enough with the 2019 formal, selling drinks at the canteen for their predecessors' big night. And began the new year with a variety of initiatives at the school swimming carnival, including the community Business Race.
"Then COVID hit, suddenly our plans for Bunnings barbecues and other events became a lot more complicated," Ella said.
"We organised meetings where many Year 12 students came together to discuss our options. Through these we learned to think outside the square and come up with new ideas."
As 2020 continued Year 12 students; helped marshall Triathlon events in return for a donation; ran Fun Footy Friday alongside the SRC; and ran and catered a series of footy days at Glen Willow. Despite the uncertainty of the earlier months, Rainbow Day was able to go ahead and was a success with drivers digging deep once again at the roadside collection points.
"None of this would've been possible without the enormous generosity of the community, the school body and the time given by the Year 12 students," Ella said.
"We have learned to work with what we were given and to try and change obstacles into opportunities. I think we have all learnt valuable skills as a result of this pandemic, such as resilience, initiative, understanding and patience, which will stand us all in good stead for our future."
'Resilient' class of 2020 celebrated
The 2020 cohort endured a final year of school unlike any other and their achievements were celebrated last week at the Mudgee High Farewell Assembly.
Between the presentation of awards, there was reflection on the qualities shown to graduate during a pandemic.
"I don't think anyone will be envious of the final year of these students. They have had to deal with the complete structure and way they learn changing almost overnight, but they didn't give up," year adviser Adrian Couch said.
"They have had to deal with every certainty becoming a maybe. And I'm proud of the strength, resilience and flexibility shown and what they have been able to achieve.
"These young men and women have earned their stripes and are about to head off on their separate ways. I am sure these young people have the capacity to be life long learners and will have career paths with many twists and turns."
The theme of Wayne Eade's principal's address was 'grateful', he said "this final year has been a strange one". But reminded it's important to be grateful for being part of a supportive community, because "cast a wider net and the story grows bleaker".
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