As demands on energy supplies grow in Australia, budding scientists, engineers and mathematicians at Corpus Christi Catholic High School, Oak Flats joined some of Australia’s most innovative designers and educators to build a ‘SolarBuddy’—a small solar light designed specifically for children—to help students in Papua New Guinea study after dark.
The student-led learning experience, which is part of the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program, was held on Wednesday 22 June, 2022. The event was a partnership between the school, Learning Environments Australasia and SolarBuddy, an Australian charity who provides safe and reliable solar light solutions to children living in remote off-grid communities around the world.
Year 10 iSTEM student, Carissa Marie Petrou, said, “It was wonderful to lead this local initiative alongside architects, designers, engineers and educational leaders, to produce fully-working SolarBuddy lights for students in poverty-stricken villages in Papua New Guinea."
"Education is very important and school work can be difficult at times, so I hope these lights help them to never give up and keep learning" — Carissa Marie Petrou, Year 10 Corpus Christi
Students were joined by Peter Hill, Director of Schools for the Diocese of Wollongong, along with representatives from Learning Environments Australasia, to co-construct the solar lights.
Mr Hill said the event provided students with opportunities to be proactive learners and practically live out their faith which is the heart of the Catholic school difference.
“This event was a wonderful example of student-led engagement with their learning,” he said. “It showcased the talent, innovation and commitment to learning at Corpus Christi, and the ability of young people to not only deepen their knowledge in and beyond the classroom, but to make valuable contributions to their local and global communities in ways that are truly meaningful to them and inspired by the social teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The student directed activity was followed by a networking session for students and invited guests with refreshments provided by the Year 12 Hospitality class. Members of the Corpus Christi Network (CCN) student crew interviewed guests throughout the evening and presented a short video at the conclusion of the evening.
Andrew Kenneally, Leader of Curriculum and Improvement at Corpus Christi was delighted with the event and the hands-on experience it provided students. “The SolarBuddy project links agile learning experiences to industry development, while showcasing how learning spaces can support the development of students for the real world."