Way back in 2013, Cranbourne West Primary School decided to get involved in the Energy Breakthrough for the very first time. With just an old vehicle, and very little community awareness and support, one team travelled to Maryborough, where they got their first taste of a program that now sees students come back, well after their primary school days are over.
Fast forward ten years, and Cranbourne West Primary School is now a mainstay of the Energy Breakthrough, with three teams set to hit the track this month!
The success of the program at Cranbourne West is testament to the passion, dedication and enthusiasm of the head of the program, Chris, who has worked hard to build the program to what it is today. But for Chris, success doesn’t come from how the teams score, or whether they end up on a podium, but whether the students had fun, engaged with their learning and school community, and got to be part of something.
Cranbourne West has made sure that the Energy Breakthrough is a program for everyone, working to each student’s strength, the team is made up of students who enjoy athletics, sustainability and environment, math and engineering, and those who enjoy public speaking and communications. Because of this, the success of the program has gone from strength to strength, and the impact has been considerable.
Chris says that the changes in the students involved in the program has been incredible, students are engaging with the learning more, mental health has improved, academic engagement and success has improved, students have come out of their shell, and grown in confidence to allow them to deliver fantastic display and presentations and design and construction talks.
There’s been a huge increase in community support, with families getting involved to seek out and provide sponsorship for the program, which, alongside a break through the Covid years, has allowed the school to make the program even better. With new trikes, new equipment and new marquees, the team is ready to hit the track this year.
And the school has gotten involved too! This year for the first time the school ran an Energy Breakthrough day. Students did their license test, and students across the school got involved to raise money and find out about the program, getting the next generation of Energy Breakthrough students excited to join the team in the coming years.
The connection of the students to their school has become so strong, that the school now runs an alumni team, where ex-students come back to participate alongside the students Cranbourne West Primary School at events such as Casey, where they raced 3 teams recently.
And there’s a reason for that connection, Chris and the school have worked hard to make the program about so much more than just a race. For the students at Cranbourne West Primary School, it’s a journey. Where each student has their own goals, and gets to work on an aspect of their program that they’re passionate about or interested in, with staff like Chris who support them in every way.
Chris has also made sure to champion equality and female empowerment through the program, the teams are made up of at least 60% females, and they recently got to have a chat with a local female tradeswoman, who worked with them to wire up a new horn and circuit in each of the vehicles.
We asked Chris about the secret to the school’s growing success, and he told us that it’s up to the kids, as staff their job is to guide them, but as long as you bring the passion, the students will find success themselves. He says that the positive impacts he’s seen for the students over the years makes the job worth it every single day.
For the kids he says, just give it a go and have fun, there’s something in the Energy Breakthrough for everyone, it’s more than just a race.
We can’t wait to see all of Cranbourne West Primary School 3 vehicles out on the track this year, and we wish them all the best!