The whole community in and around Orange, NSW, is now involved in teaching students at Kinross Wolaroi School about agriculture and regional living.

Story Ken Eastwood  PhotographybyPip

Situated in the heartland of a rich agricultural region in the central west of New South Wales, Kinross Wolaroi School at Orange has offered its senior students an agricultural program throughout its 132-year history. But the staff wanted to do more – to incorporate learning about regional living and agriculture into every year and every classroom.

And so, at the beginning of 2017, it started its new integrated agribusiness program, called The Regional Engagement Enterprise (or TREE) to showcase regional businesses and opportunities and to engage students by making their learning in every subject relevant to the community around them. Parents, alumni and other community members have introduced students to their businesses and areas of expertise, and the program has expanded rapidly from 16 pilot programs in 2017 to more than 60 in 2018.

Director of TREE, Tom Riley, was employed by the school to set up and run the program, and he says its strength is using the local community to demonstrate how learning at school is relevant. Kinross Wolaroi has about 1100 students, with 800 in senior high (about 50 percent of whom are boarders), with most coming from agricultural backgrounds.

“For Kinross Wolaroi, it’s an acknowledgement of an agricultural pedigree and an expansion of what we offered in agriculture,” he says. “A lot of what we previously offered was traditional, such as cattle-showing and teaching agriculture as a subject, but they’re quite narrow in terms of what agriculture offers as a whole. In the modern era, ag has evolved to be so much more than just growing and grazing. And if you can’t get students in Orange interested in agriculture, you’re doing something wrong.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #122

Outback Magazine: December/January 2019