St Francis Xavier’s little buddies

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22 November 2017Image 1 - St Francis Xavier staff and students with their letters.

The art of letter writing has not been lost on a group of Corio primary school pupils.

St Francis Xavier School pupils have exchanged more than 400 handwritten letters with their ‘big buddies’ from Deakin University as part of the Literacy Buddies program.

The Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP) and Ardoch Youth Foundation-led initiative saw 31 volunteer Deakin staff form friendships with 31 Grade 6 ‘little buddies’.

St Francis Xavier Grade 6 teacher Steph Everett said her students loved sending and receiving letters.

‘The students are always so excited to receive and write their letters. It’s great to see them handwriting their letters and being creative in how they present them, they are always so proud,’ Ms Everett said.

‘Having “big buddies” from Deakin shows students that university can be something that’s achievable for them, helping to develop that early connection and know that they too can go to university one day if they would like.’

Pupil Angus enjoyed being creative when writing his letters. ‘I like how the big buddies are friendly and caring towards us and what they write in their letters,’ he said.

Deakin Learning Futures Learning Environments manager Kathryn Perus said taking time out of her busy work schedule to write letters to her buddy had been ‘really fantastic’.

Deakin manager of access and equity partnerships Jane Finlay said Literacy Buddies formed part of the DEAP’s work to support students’ education and career aspirations, and the program had been shown to improve literacy skills, social skills and confidence.

‘The big buddies visited the school in June to meet their pen pals face-to-face,’ she said.

This article was originally published in the Geelong Advertiser 18 November 2017.