Like a phoenix, Rappville School rises from the ashes
SINCE the October 8 bushfire that tore through Rappville, school principal Kat Collis and her students have risen like a phoenix from the ashes.
The new school mural of a phoenix is an apt metaphor for how Rappville Public School has coped since the disaster and with the COVID-19 lockdown.
"We've taken every day as it comes and see what the day has bought," Ms Collis said of the school's resilience.
With news of a $50,000 grant from the Commonwealth Bank Bushfire Fund, Ms Collis can install a shadecloth over the playground as the trees that used to shade the school were burnt.
She also plans to create a native bush fence line.
As the fire tore through the village seven months ago, the school was the evacuation centre where residents and farm animals huddled through a horrifying night of fire.
Ms Collis said the response of parents and carers to the staff efforts to support families affected by the bushfires really showed how schools play a vital role in community cohesion.
"The school became a focus for people needing and offering support," she said.
"So, despite the disruption the fires brought and the changes families had to make, we have managed to maintain our enrolment at 11 students, just one less than at the start of the year."
A bonus of home learning during lockdown was the increase in home cooking, Ms Collis said.
"We're now using that to maintain students' interest in healthy eating while incorporating maths and literacy into weekly cooking lessons," she said.
"There's always plenty of talk about silver linings in times of difficulty, but our school community translated that into the wellbeing of our students and creating hands-on activities for real educational benefit.
"This, and working together, are all vital parts of Rappville's recovery."