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Southland children show how its done

Southland children show how its done

A group of eight and nine-year-old students from Southland have shown what can be achieved with a lot of hard work and concern for the safety of others.

Edendale Primary School has won this year's Road Safety Education Award for the Tricky Tracks programme, designed to make the area around railway track close to the school safer.

The programme was undertaken by students Ella Hall, Jorja Lawson, Thomas Lewis, Damian McKenzie and Laura McVicar with help from teacher Heather Robertson. They have travelled to Wellington to receive their award tonight (22 February 2005) at a ceremony hosted by Transport Safety Minister Hon Harry Duynhoven.

The children identified the potential dangers posed by double railway tracks near their school, and came up with methods of minimising the risks. Their solutions included cutting back shrubbery to improve visibility, stopping vehicles from parking over the footpath, painting warnings on the footpath and educating children at the school using posters, bookmarks and a board game.

Using a project management plan that any corporate would be proud of, the children approached local organisations including Gore Police, Southland District Council, Edendale Community Board, Road Safety Southland, Toll rail and Fonterra for the help they needed to get the job done.

As a result Fonterra sponsored fluro vests for all the children to wear to and from school, the footpath near the school displays train warning signs, potholes at the railway lines were repaired, and footprints were painted on the footpath so children know which path to use.

The result was a much safer area around the railway track, completed on time and to budget.

Road Safety Innovation Awards' Chief Judge Dr Carolyn Coggan said she was very impressed with the enormous amount of effort that the children put into the project.

“These children have made a real difference to the safety of their community and I congratulate them on their hard work and persistence. They did everything right, from identifying the problem and the solutions to getting the necessary assistance from relevant organisations. They even held a morning tea for all the people involved in the project to show them their entry in these awards before it was posted off. “I’m delighted that Ella, Jorja, Damian, Laura and Thomas could attend the awards ceremony. They deserve enormous congratulations.”

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