Principal gives hope to community affected by drought
WHEN the drought hit a small NSW town hard, one school principal made it his mission to help the community stay positive by working with agencies to deliver sustained drought relief.
Principal John Southon, of Trundle Central School near Parkes in central NSW, has been advocating and encouraging people in bigger regions to support, shop and visit rural communities.
In the last 12 months, Mr Southon and the community have managed to achieve and secure 300 food packages, eight tonnes of bottled water and $70,000 dollars injected into the Trundle economy.
"I've sourced products through lobbying Sydney schools and other organisations. This includes a relationship with a charity that will provide new clothes to our students for years to come," Mr Southon said.
"Other practical things that have been done includes cleaning out showers during the night and on weekends to allow them to be used by the farming community."
With less than 150 pupils in his school, Mr Southon has also been instilling into the minds of his young students that "opportunity should not be defined by geography".
"The degree of misconception of country life is frightening. But I've been highlighting the divide in opportunity between the city and country in terms of what's available," he said.
"Also the effects on children aren't forgotten. it's not visual compared to crops and livestock, but they're real and unfortunately will be there long after the drought."
His efforts have attracted national and even worldwide media attention, with Trundle Central School featuring on Seven Network's Sunrise, BBC World Service and China News.
It's this kind of leadership that has earned this principal a Pride of Australia nomination.
There are heroes all around us. But often, because they are humble and act on behalf of others without fear or favour, their stories remain untold.
The Pride of Australia Medal is one of News Corp Australia's most important community endeavours, playing a fundamental role as a vehicle to celebrate and acknowledge the remarkable contribution and achievements of members of the Australian community.
So if someone has inspired you through their dedication, initiative, courage or charity, be it a neighbour, friend or colleague, show them how much their actions matter to you by nominating them for the prestigious Pride of Australia Medal.