Benalla P-12 College recently held the launch of the Defining Moments digital project - a collaboration with Ryebuck Media and the National Museum of Australia (NMA).
The program encourages local students to put their hands up to research and share a defining moment in their town's history.
Community members were invited to the launch, held last Wednesday, which saw the first public screening of a video of the defining moments that each student has looked into.
Ten students took part in the project, under the tutelage of Lauren Sims, and they each received as certificate for their hard-work.
Benalla P-12 College executive principal Tony Clark opened the screening and welcomed all in attendance.
“Earlier this year we opened this building (The Weary Dunlop Education Centre) and as part of that we engaged with the Weary Dunlop foundation through which we met Tim (Gurry) from Ryebuck media,” Mr Clark said.
“Tim saw the engagement of our students and our college and our connection with Weary Dunlop, and wanted to do something a bit more - and that’s where the Defining Moments project came in.
“It’s been a great opportunity for our students to be involved with this and very fortunately we had a staff member, Lauren Sims, who was keen and prepared to work with Tim and the students to produce this video.
“That’s happened over a couple of months and it's done in a really professional way.
“I saw it a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at how great it looked and at how well the students came across in the video.
“So it’s really exciting to be here this afternoon to launch this video, to hear a bit more about it, and to see our kids up on the big screen.”
Ryebuck Media chief executive officer Tim Gurry travelled to Benalla for the launch and spoke of the significance of the project.
“Ryebuck media is not a traditional media company, we are an educational company,” Mr Gurry said.
“I was here at the opening of this building and it was obvious that this is a great school with great spirit.
“I didn’t know much about Benalla before I met these wonderful students.
“They got involved and came up with about nine defining moments in Benalla's history.
“Thanks to them the National Museum of Australia is now well aware of Benalla P-12.
“And it is well aware of some of the defining moments that occurred in this particular region – and that is what our program is all about.
“It’s a national program to galvanise young people to dig into their communities and identify events and people who have shaped thems, and then share those in a unique way with the National Museum of Australia.
“These students are going to be genuine historians and researchers, and I'd like to thank all of them.”
Mr Gurry then presented certificates to all students involved who were in attendance, Cheyane Vaughan; Lachlan Sands; Zoe Thompson; Sara Green; Tarree Fletcher; Scarlett Lowe; Evan Willett; and Zoe Grundy.
The clip was met with a rapturous applause before Ms Sims spoke to the room about the project.
“We have been so lucky to be part of this, and for Tim to give us this opportunity,” Ms Sims said.
“It’s a real process of discovery and these students have navigated it themselves and they all deserve so much credit.
“They had a little bit of information to start with, and they had to build on that and they came up with a massive list of defining moments that they thought were important in Benalla.
“And we were really fortunate that we are in such a welcoming community.
“The migrant camp opened up their doors for us to actually come in and speak to former migrants and look at the camp, which was really amazing.
“Craig Morrison opened up the aviation museum, which the kids didn't even know was there.
“We felt really welcomed. These are stories that people really want to hear.
“Sara did an amazing job. She worked on her own to do the CFA. She did such an amazing job and she was really passionate.
“Cheyane worked with Andre to do Winton Wetlands and they did an amazing job looking at its culture as well from a conservation perspective.
“Lachie and Zoe were going to focus on the train crash in Violet town. But we had time restrictions so instead they decided to do the Faithfull Massacre.
“Taree, Dillon and Scarlett looked at the Aviation Museum. They learned lot and they were really fortunate to have Craig there to tell them all bout it.
“I think its come along really well and the welcoming nature of all these organisations in Benalla has been amazing.
“They’ve all said yes, come and learn. Come and understand. And when you’ve learnt, and when you understand, please share it with other people.
“So it’s all about sharing stories, its about keeping that collective memory alive, and I think that’s a huge part of what we have achieved from this.”