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Sean helps spotlight P&Cs to support WA public schools

8 October, 2021

UWA student Sean Armstrong has helped raise awareness of the importance of Parents and Citizens Associations (P&Cs) in WA public schools through an internship at the Western Australian Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO).

The internship, completed through UWA’s McCusker Centre for Citizenship, saw Sean help WACSSO place a spotlight on the successes and achievements of WA-based and volunteer-led P&Cs over the organisation’s 100-year history, by creating a pool of stories to share on WACSSO’s website and social media platforms.

These stories extended from the first PA system in WA in the 1930s to free Oslo lunches at schools across 1940-1960, through to more recent initiatives that bolster road safety and support children with differing needs support in the classroom.

“It really opened my eyes to the amazing work parents and citizens do as a part of P&Cs. I was able to see how P&Cs have been able to bring their communities together and I was also able to learn more of the historical impact P&Cs have had on the education system as a whole,” said Sean.

The communication-based internship was a new experience for Sean, who is studying Biomedical Science, but he is thankful for the opportunity which led him to gain confidence, professional skills and firsthand experience supporting the WA community.

 “I was a little bit nervous going all the way to the Education Department at the start of my internship but [the WACSSO team] were all very friendly and helped remove my fears,” he said.

“My time at WACSSO was a highly rewarding one. I definitely felt as if I had a positive impact on the organisation and the community they support. I was also able to learn many new and wonderful things both about P&Cs and my own capabilities,” said Sean.

Sean’s work at WACSSO culminated in him attending the recent 2021 WACSSO Annual Conference, where he was able to gain further insights into the important work being done by P&Cs.

WACSSO Senior Vice-President and intern supervisor, Jenny Blair, said “Sean was a great asset to our team.  He joined us at a very busy time.  We were preparing for Annual Conference, and as it is our 100th year, we were researching our history and we had many stories to tell.  It was great that Sean was able to attend the conference and see his work come to life, and to meet our affiliates.”

Sean highly recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program to other UWA students looking to make a “real world impact”.

“When you are studying at university it can be difficult to see how your education and your skills can lead to helping people. That is what is so great about this unit - it really puts into perspective all the amazing things you can do,” says Sean.

Image below: Sean with WACSSO Communications and Research Officer, Jonathan Cunningham and Senior Vice President & Councillor for Perth North, Jenny Blair at the WACSSO 2021 Annual Conference.