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Smiles show off students resilience

A compliment leads to a smile, a smile leads to positivity, and positivity leads to resilience.

It’s a simple lesson learned by year 6 students at Home Hill State School who plastered each other with sticky notes, each with a kind comment scrawled by their classmates.

The activity is part of the school’s participation in The Resilience Project, designed to build gratitude, empathy and mindfulness in students and supported by the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, the Queensland Government and Evolution Mining.

Class 6PS teacher Callan Sunderland, while covered in colourful sticky notes filled with compliments from his students, said the activity shows students how giving or receiving a compliment can change someone’s day.

It’s a simple lesson that reinforces the importance of resilience at school.

“From the start of the year, and I’ve seen it the last couple of years as well in using The Resilience Project, their maturity through the year has improved heaps,” he said.

“It’s teaching them to be resilient in terms of what is a big problem and what is a small problem and that’s one thing we’ve really been focused on.

“At the start of the year they were getting into issues that required help from staff members, but now they’re starting to sort it out between themselves.

“There’s much more peer mediation than having to rely on those staff members.”

Students were rewarded for their hard work in the program with a special visit from former Cowboy Gavin Cooper and Julie Evans from Evolution Mining.

As part of their activities, students were also asked to look for the good, by being given newspapers and magazines and tasked with finding the positive articles in each.

A quick visit over to class 6V saw Gavin help students write compliments on portraits of their classmates.

Callan said the whole school is seeing the benefits of their year 6 students taking part in The Resilience Project.

“We know how we like to learn in here and they know how I like to teach, and we all appreciate each other’s need to learn differently,” he said.

“With Gavin, these kids are old enough to have watched him play for the Cowboys or in Origin so they realise how important this is, and to have Julie here as well with the experience she’s got in that sort of field is awesome for them.”

Overall, the Cowboys are partnering with 42 schools across North and Far North Queensland for The Resilience Project in 2021, providing support, resources and ambassador visits to complement the program curriculum.

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