The following is actually a short blog from our “Mother Site” — the Country Education Partnership (CEP).
We figured it was well worth a share on Rural Inspire because it perfectly demonstrates the concept (and power) of getting young professionals to take their skills and knowledge back to their rural communities.
EVEN IF it's for just one day.
So, thumbs-up to Trent Cations and the Katamatite Primary School for making this happen.
And CHEERS for sharing your story!
Cooking Up a Storm in Katamatite
If you’d have dropped into the Katamatite Primary School last Wednesday, you’d have been greeted by the delicious smell of a baking sensation, involving stuffed zucchini, mashed potato, bacon and plenty of cheese on top.
It was a cooking treat for the students and staff, alike — from all reports it tasted mighty fine and there was plenty of fun for those involved in the cooking process.
But what was, perhaps, even more impressive than the success of the dish was how and why the cooking class came about.
As Senior Teacher Scott Marsden describes it, it was “one of those special moments” where he could “positively reflect on the significant role” of small schools in small communities.
“Basically, we got a call out of the blue from (former student) Trent Cations who, it turns out, is now working in Shepparton as a qualified chef,” Mr Marsden said.
“Trent explained to us that his workplace had set him a bit of a challenge to find a school to do some cooking with and he automatically thought of us.
“At face value, it mightn’t seem overly significant but, as a small school in a small community, it is invaluable to have a former student who wants to come back and share their real-life experiences, which then open the eyes of today’s kids about what they might do one day.”
For Trent it was an opportunity to give back to a school he remembers fondly.
“It’s a long time ago, now, but I enjoyed going to school in Katamatite and, yeah, I guess I’ll always think of it as my school,” Trent said.
“When I cook for people, I love to see their faces light up; I love the smiles that food can create … and there were lots of smiles today cooking with the kids.
“One of the kids was firing off questions left, right and centre and they weren’t pointless questions — he was really testing me – but I think that was a fair sign that he was enjoying the session.”
Creating professional links with the local community is an evolving focus for Katamatite Primary.
Most recently they’ve enjoyed lessons with some of the region’s garlic farmers but the visit from Trent was a cut above.
“It’s special to have someone come to the school who the students can relate to,” Mr Marsden said.
“It’s quite remarkable what a difference it makes when we can say, ‘hey, this is someone who went to your school’ – they automatically make a connection that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
“Trent’s visit was one of those opportunities where you’re happy to put everything else you’re doing on hold, because what he brings to the session is life skills, and it’s such a great opportunity to expose the kids to something new.
“Maybe one of them will become a chef one day and maybe they’ll remember the class they had with Trent.”