HASTINGS Secondary College has been named among a stellar list of national finalists in the 2020 Australian Education Awards.
And there's no doubting why the school has been ranked among some of the country's best with inspirational teacher Lloyd Godson named a rising star finalist and the College's exceptional STEM program, which includes its team of internationally successful robotics students, also lauded.
The Australian Education Awards bring together hundreds of education leaders, recognising the star performers in their profession across 25 categories.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held at Doltone House - Darling Island on Friday, November 6.
Regardless of plaudits, anyone who has experienced the teaching style of Lloyd Godson will agree he is one of Australia's best classroom leaders.
Mr Godson is a gifted educator. He is currently in his third year of teaching at Hastings Secondary College's Westport campus.
In that time, Mr Godson has been at the forefront of innovation in the area of future-focused learning to support the social and academic growth of each student.
Mr Godson was a key player in a student-developed a Pet Therapy in Schools Program. Students work alongside their peers with special needs with the assistance of a therapy dog to foster genuine relationships and improve wellbeing.
He also sourced a grant to take Marine Studies students from the college to Lady Elliot Island on a scientific field trip. Many of the students on the trip had never flown in an aircraft, never been to Queensland or the Great Barrier Reef.
"One female student who was, prior to the trip, an attendance risk now has university aspirations as a result of Lloyd's mentorship," executive principal Hastings Secondary College Ian Ross said.
Mr Godson has been instrumental in the development of the school's STEM initiatives, with one of the most successful involving junior students who travelled to New Zealand to compete in an Aquabotics competition. The team took out first place and a spot in the USA competition in 2020.
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In 2019, Mr Godson was successful in obtaining an $80,000 grant to purchase a plastic shredder (Shruder). Shredded plastic from the school and community will be on sold to create filament for 3D printing or use in an injecting mould procedure to produce park and garden furniture. A team of students, under Mr Godson's guidance, will administer the operation.
Mr Godson's students are his greatest ambassadors with a team of young sailors putting their skills and knowledge to the test on water at the 2019 Cardboard Boat Regatta sponsored by the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West and the NSW Marine Rescue.
In 2020, Mr Godson plans to expand the event to include a number of Mid North Coast schools.
The College's is also in the running for the most outstanding STEM-based project or education program implemented by a school in Australia.
"STEM Academy curriculum was developed and continues to be improved by our exceptional College teaching staff and shared with other public high schools," Mr Ross said.
The school's success at First Lego League and on the competitive student robotics circuit has cemented its commitment to and success in STEM subjects.
The Lego team were winners at the 2019 regional competition and runners up nationally.
"Hastings Secondary College community is exceptionally proud of our robotics team staff consisting of Paul King, Steven Barnett, Andrew Dunn and Todd Harrison who have continued to deliver a specialist program to our students," Mr Ross said.
"These innovative and passionate teachers have guided and supported our students on a fantastic journey of opportunity that has led to the students competing and succeeding at a regional, national and international level.
"The program encourages students to work collaboratively, to problem solve and advance their skills in technology. The robotics program has resulted in closer industrial links with the community and developing a unique set of skills that will be highly sought after by future employers when they leave school.
"This achievement recognises and acknowledges Hastings Secondary College and the work it does in providing exceptional academic programs and opportunities for students, supported by quality teaching in a quality learning environment.
"We are proud to have these programs recognised at an Australian educational level.
"This outstanding result reflects the enormous effort that the entire Hastings Secondary College community makes in ensuring that we continue to offer Australia's best educational opportunities."