Why school captain burst into laughter when Governor visited
TAYLA Kennedy cracked up laughing, and struggled to keep her composure.
But this wasn't how it was supposed to go down.
Tayla is one of four school captains at Ballina Coast High School, all of whom had prepared a short note to say to the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, when she visited the school on Thursday, September 12.
The captains, clutching pieces of paper, were wearing their formal school blazers as they met the vice-regal visitor, accompanied by husband Dennis Wilson.
As Tayla began talking, it was Mr Wilson who quipped that it seemed like she had the talk memorised and there was no need to look at the notes.
With a follow-up, "put the paper down, speak from the heart", Tayla lost it, and, well, laughing is contagious, and soon the the entire gathering had joined in.
Later, Governor Beazley, who has been to the region many times before but this was her first visit as Governor of NSW, fulfilling a commitment of getting out to regional NSW, described her position as a "humanising role which is all about the people".
She certainly achieved that at Ballina Coast High School.
Tayla later said the Governor was "very down to earth," and the four captains agreed she had made them feel very comfortable -- the visit didn't have the high level of formality they expected.
Governor Beazley took a keen interest in the new teaching and learning style being used at the school, which opened this year with 860 students.
Principal Janeen Silcock explained the use of "learning coaches" for each student and the open-plan design of the learning spaces, which are far removed from traditional class rooms.
"Is it distracting?" Governor Beazley asked when viewing the learning street, with doorless learning areas either side.
Mrs Silcock said learning was "social" and the open plan encouraged that.
Tayla said the new learning spaces encouraged students to be "respectful" of other classes and other students.
Governor Beazley said she was very impressed with the new school, to the extent she wished she could be a student again.
After the visit to Ballina Coast High School, the Governor headed to the NSW Department of Primary Industries research institute at Wollongbar, and praised the work they do.
She also will visit Wollongbar's Heartfelt House later today , which provides support for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, where she was announced as the organisation's first patron.
She said she plans to visit fire-affected areas in the region at a later date.
"But I expect to do that in a quiet way," she said.
"That's all about supporting the community."
On Friday, September 13, The Governor will deliver the graduation ceremony address at Lismore's Southern Cross University and visit the Lismore Tresillian Family Care Centre.
As Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South Wales Regiment, the Governor, accompanied by Mr Wilson also will visit the 41st Battalion, the Royal NSW Regiment headquarters in Lismore.
In addition, the Governor and Mr Wilson will host a Vice Regal Reception in Lismore for representatives of local volunteer and community organisations.