Greater Shepparton Secondary College
In 2022, four local secondary colleges were merged into the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College. The College has 2,500 students attending from years seven to 12. The past two years have seen the school thrive, and the School Breakfast Clubs Program has been at the center of this success ensuring kids have the nutritional energy they need to learn every day.
How does a school provide a Breakfast Club to 2,500 kids every day? With a well planned and creative program!
A new school linking to local roots
Greater Shepparton Secondary College was built to include three identical main buildings known as neighbourhoods. The College and its neighbourhoods give Shepparton students new school facilities providing contemporary shared teaching, learning spaces and specialist areas.
The Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG), part of the Shepparton Education Plan’s Koorie Engagement Group, led the initiative to name the three neighbourhoods in Aboriginal language. After community consultation, three names, Biyala (River Red Gum), Dharnya (Grey Box), and Bayuna (Yellow Box), were endorsed as the official names symbolising the significance of trees in culture, education, and community gathering.
The selected names are connected to trees found along waterways in the local landscape and compare the neighbourhoods to branches and the students to leaves, emphasising the vital role of education and growth.
A Breakfast Club for the masses
Traditionally School Breakfast Clubs Programs are run in the morning before school, but expecting teenagers to get to school early can be a hard ask for most. After experimenting with different times, the team at the College landed on running their Breakfast Club during the first recess break of the day as well as in the mornings too.
Every day the bell rings at 11am, the kids are hungry and the team here are prepared. It was quickly realised that high school students don’t want to sit down to eat, they are in a hurry and want to spend time with their friends.
Each neighbourhood is equipped with a kitchen and community room. The community room in the Bayuna neighbourhood is where the Breakfast Club happens every day.
The team has a portable commercial trolley that is stacked with the School Breakfast Clubs Program food. The trolley is set up and rolled to an external door. The kids line up and before you know it there are polite hands reaching in for apples, oranges, pears, fruit cups, Messy Monkeys, vegemite sandwiches and, with help from another organisation, they have cheese sandwiches too. The team also offer the tuna meals and lentil bowls for the kids to take for their lunch break.
During the 20 minute recess break, 80-100 kids receive essential food. The grab and go style of service provides the ease of access for every student, and it reduces the stigma that a teenager can feel about accessing food relief.
Given the size of the school, it is hard to get food to every student. To help manage this, School Breakfast Clubs Program snacks are left in communal areas of each Neighbourhood. This ensures students have access to food when and where they need it, in an easily accessible way.
“The Breakfast Program is integral in assisting our students to be “ready to learn”. It supports our acknowledgement that there is a strong connection between student wellbeing and academic outcomes. The program runs out of our Community Hub every morning before school and again during first break. A warm welcome given by the staff who run the program combined with a variety of nourishing foods makes sure that every student in our College starts the school day positively.”
Karen Utber | Assistant Principal
“We (the school) love being able to supply our students with some breakfast to start their day and then be able to supply them with something at recess to get them through the rest of the day. The program is a very welcomed part of our student’s day and the variety of items is great. Thank you for allowing us to do this.”
Linda | Breakfast Club Coordinator
Thoughts from an old student
“I remember a time when there was no breakfast club program. Some days I would go to the library to read, just so other kids didn’t realise that I didn’t have lunch when they were eating. Because of the Breaky Club, even when I have forgotten my lunch or I have lunch, and feel like I need a little more, I know that with a smile and a please and thank you, I won’t go hungry.”
Patrick Challis | Science/Math Teacher