Byford Secondary College, WA
Early Career Teacher
Not many teenagers voluntarily begin their school day at 7am, especially if an early rise also includes doing exercise! However, Health and PE teacher, Lauren Warschauer’s students at Byford Secondary College in Perth do just that. Lauren’s Engage program has transformed the health and wellbeing of many of her students with her innovative approach, as well as student engagement at the school.
Engage is an 8-week program developed by Lauren, where students come to school early twice a week. During this time, they participate in fitness activities, eat a healthy meal and learn how to cook. They also get the opportunity to hear from inspiring guest speakers, for example elite athletes, police officers, and fire fighters. Participants are given opportunities to volunteer in their community, as well as participate in team building activities to develop their leadership and communication skills.
When Lauren measured the impact of her program, the results were outstanding. 100% of students enjoyed the program, and 80% believed they were healthier because of it. 60% of students also reported being happier and more engaged at school overall. Parents were also elated with the Engage program with 80% reporting they believed their child’s sense of self-worth had increased, and one parent, whose son was struggling with his mental health, told Lauren the program had transformed her son’s life.
The local community has also hailed the positive impact of the program for creating proactive and positive young citizens. Lauren’s drive is to support students in need to overcome generational disadvantage and help young people to develop skills, passion and hope for the future.