Students from all walks of life in Orange are embracing the idea of becoming community leaders after taking part in Orange City Council’s ‘Where to Next?’ planning sessions for the city’s future.
Mayor Reg Kidd and deputy mayor Joanne McRae were among those to talk to students about their ideas, plans and desires.
Deputy mayor McRae said she and many others in the room were surprised by how many “really sophisticated ideas” were put forward by the meetings.
“The students weren’t just talking about things that would just impact them, they were talking about more broadly things in their neighbourhood or all across Orange,” she said.
Eighty students from primary and secondary schools across Orange took part in the talks, with 40 primary school students and about the same number of high school students meeting across two sessions.
“The things that particularly struck me from the first session included, costs for accessing the Orange pool and lowering that,” Cr McRae said.
“They also wanted a different range of activities at the pool for non-swimmers which I think showed an increasing cultural diversity which was nice.”
She said primary school students had “done their homework” and canvassed opinions of classmates for the meetings.
Cr McRae also said students suggested improved sporting facilities, especially for athletics and hockey.
According to McRae the high school students had an “amazing” range of ideas.
Leaders of high schools in Orange focused on building “social fabric” in town, as well as post-secondary school education.
“A lot of them were thinking about ‘what am I going to do for a job?’,” Cr McRae said.
“It was interesting there were some specific course areas they were interested in and would like to see in Orange, law and engineering but also support for trades.
“Some didn’t know where their pathway was but they knew there were gaps in [tertiary education].”
Some of the other ideas students had included more bubblers for the homeless, more bike tracks, and upgrades at Gosling Creek, with some students also saying they’d love to see an ice skating rink in Orange.
Older students took the time to thank council for involving them in the process, as Cr McRae said some students often felt left out of government processes.