[singlepic id=366 w=320 h=240 float=left] Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has congratulated Gordonvale State High School students taking part in the Hands On Learning (HOL) program on the commissioning of their latest project – a pizza oven.

Mr Pitt said the HOL program piloted at Gordonvale State High over the past two years had generated extraordinary results among the 40 participating students.

“Unexplained student absences have dropped by more than half and detention rates are at a fifth of what they were prior to the HOL program,” Mr Pitt said.

“HOL is an innovative program in which participating students spend one day a week taking part in activities in a real-world setting fully integrated with literacy and numeracy programs.

“The students had to use mathematical skills to measure materials and calculate the volume of cement required for the pizza oven, as well as using practical skills to construct it.”

“The pizza oven will now be put to good use as a learning resource and at school functions as an alternative to sausage sizzles.

“I congratulate the students, school staff and Principal and Hands On Learning Australia for their dedication and hard work.”

Gordonvale State High School Principal Kate MacDonald said HOL was the hook keeping compulsory-phase students (aged 12-15) engaged in mainstream education at the school.

“We have seen a phenomenal change in attendance and engagement, an immediate and real impact on the kids who weren’t going to school,” Mrs MacDonald said.

“Not only does the HOL program work to dramatically increase school attendance, it also impacts positively on how these students perform in other school subjects and gives them valuable life skills.

”And it’s not just struggling students who benefit. Students with potential for leadership have also been selected to take part and everyone has benefited.”

Faith Fatnowna, mother of HOL student Daniel, said her son had been transformed.

“Daniel wants to go to school now and he is picking up skills he hasn’t been taught before, even at home,” Mrs Fatnowna said.

“He used to say school was boring and stay away, but HOL makes Daniel want to go to school. Most importantly, he has a new belief in himself and what he can achieve in his life.”

The HOL program is administered and delivered by Hands On Learning Australia, a not-for-profit, harm-prevention charity, in conjunction with participating schools.