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Make Palmerston great again . . . East Otago High School teacher Kirsty McLachlan and some of her pupils are keen on making Palmerston a better place. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Teachers and pupils at East Otago High School think they have what it takes to make their town great again.

Earlier this year, the school was granted 153 hours of professional development, funded by the Ministry of Education.

After hiring a facilitator, the school decided to start a project called “Ignite East Otago”.

Deputy principal Keith Fleury said the project was an exciting initiative for the school.

The idea for the project came about after a less-than-flattering television item about Palmerston.

“It just showed Palmerston in a reasonably negative light, so that sparked our students and our teachers to go, ‘Well, we deserve better than that’,” he said.

“We’ve been building up to this for quite a while. There’s been a lot of planning going on.”

About 60 pupils from three year 7 and 8 classes were involved in the project.

“It’s three classes, but they’re working together as a group on it,” Mr Fleury said.

“At the moment, they’re drawing maps of our town, and they’re doing graphs of people, and stuff like that.

“They’re integrating their English, their maths, and their social studies into the whole unit. It’s real-world stuff – there’s nothing that’s theory.”

One of the bigger goals the school had was to improve the look of the community and develop closer connections with the town.

“There’s other goals, but that’s an important one for this particular focus,” he said.

Mr Fleury believed the project would be beneficial for the Palmerston community.

“Palmerston looks a bit sad in places, so it’s good for our kids to look at that and say, ‘Palmerston could look visually better’.”

It was possible some of the pupils’ ideas could be put into practice, he said.

“Inspiring the students is what we’re aiming to do.”