Restorative Project

Our senior Automotive students gave the ultimate gift this week, handing over a car they lovingly restored to The Esther Foundation, which will make a big impact on women and children in need.

The Esther Foundation supports women and their children from vulnerable backgrounds, including addiction and abuse, though a holistic residential recovery and reintegration program.

Foundation Acting CEO, Aaron Hines, said they were currently helping 30 women and their children through spiritual, practical, counselling services and workplace assistance.

“Our main aim is to see their lives restored through various ways and give them another chance at life, ultimately reintegrating into society,” Mr Hines said.

Automotive Engineering teacher Mr Rohan Hotchkin always finds interesting and practical ways for our students to get the most out of their learning.

His church had been supporting the Esther Foundation for over a year through financial assistance and voluntary work. His personal involvement with the Foundation gave him an idea of how the School’s motto Serve God, Serve One Another, could provide additional assistance.

Mr Hotchkin got his hands on an unroadworthy 2001 Toyota Camry and integrated the passion project into the curriculum, allowing Year 11 and 12 Cert II Automotive Vocational Preparation students to become part of the restoration project that would see the vehicle given a new lease on life.

“I really like the synergy in that we restored a car, they [the Esther Foundation] are also going through their own restoration and healing through God,” Mr Hotchkin said.

Although a reliable car, the Camry needed a few things done to it to get it over the pits so the students gave it a complete service, replacing all filters, fixing oil leaks, replacing spark plugs, suspension parts and lights.

“We replaced the windscreens, a big thanks to Geoff at Windscreens West who did the job for cost and free labour and Balcatta Car and Commercial who got some tyres and gave it a wheel alignment; one of the company owners has children at the school, so this has been very much a community project,” Mr Hotchkin said.

“My boys were very keen to help Esther Foundation as much as they could, they were sympathetic to the plight of the residents and were very motivated to finish this, as it was also obtaining real skills in action and authentic learning.”

Year 12 Elliot Mills was one of the students who worked on the car. He said it was an extra special project.

“It was a really fun project from the start, seeing the car change from the state it was in and all the work we put in, knowing it would be put to good use was extra special,” he said.

The car was officially handed over to The Esther Foundation, with staff, students and Foundation members in attendance.

Mr Hines said the donation was very much appreciated.

“It will create more opportunities for the women to have transportation to get to appointments and much more flexibility, especially for those smaller trips,” he said.

Principal Donella Beare proudly watched on at the handover, noting the incredible act of service from staff and students.

“Seeing a project like this integrated into our curriculum is a testament to Mr Hotchkin, the students and our School,” she said. “They should all be extremely proud to see the difference they have made and truly embody the spirit of St Stephen’s School.

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