Students win state award for planning their future suburb

13 December 2022

Professor David Caddy (Chair, WA Planning Commission); Ben Doyle (Director, Planning Solutions); Eleni Thorman (General Manager, CLE Planning and Design) judging a students’ project at Chisholm’s Stellatus Showcase Night

A planning project by Gifted and Talented (Stellatus) students at Chisholm Catholic College has recently been recognised by the peak professional body of Western Australian Town Planners, the Planning Institute of Australia (WA) and awarded ‘Best Secondary Student Project’.

On Friday 4 November, Paul Shanahan, Chisholm Stellatus teacher and Head of Science, attended the Planning Institute of Australia’s (WA Branch) Annual Awards night to accept the State Award for Chisholm College.

As part of their Stellatus Course, Year 8 Gifted and Talented students undertake an extended project called “My Suburb in 50 Years: Students Planning for the Future.” In this Project, the students are tasked with examining the suburb where they live and creating a vision that makes it ‘fit for purpose’ in 50 years’ time.

The students are placed in groups and are assigned a strategic location in their suburb that becomes the focus of their project. They then conduct a site visit to assess the current conditions in their location. With the help of expert Town Planners Eleni Thorman (General Manager and Principal Planner at CLE) and Ben Doyle (Director at Planning Solutions), the groups apply town planning principles to answer these questions: “What role does my local suburb have in helping Perth address issues relating to its rapidly growing population?” “How can I plan for my suburb to become vibrant; liveable; sustainable; and prosperous in 50 years’ time?”

One of the College’s Year 8 students, Amber Nguyen, said:

‘This project is essential because we students are the future of Australia and we have the power to determine the success or failure of the economy for years to come. Learning how to plan ahead and think about the critical requirements for the future in order for the economy to expand will prove to be very useful and makes this project immensely captivating.’

The Project provides the students with opportunities to develop their critical and creative thinking skills. It forces the students to collaborate effectively with their group members to enforce the disciplines required to meet a project deadline.

‘The most powerful aspect of this project, however, from a teachers’ point of view is watching young people think deeply about the future of their locality and discover how they can make it a better place to live,’ said Paul Shanahan.

Chisholm students at Stellatus Showcase Night

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