Maroon for a day

17 February 2011

Students in NSW public schools and education department staff will don maroon and raise funds today to help counterparts in Queensland recover from the devastating January floods.

Streams of gold coin donations are expected to fill collection tins at public schools and department offices throughout NSW as part of the Maroon for a Day initiative.

The money raised from the mufti day will be consolidated in a central NSW education department fund and form part of the fundraising being conducted nationally by the SchoolAid foundation. The funds will be given to the Queensland education department specifically to distribute to flood-affected public schools.

The fundraiser was born out of numerous suggestions from department staff throughout NSW in the aftermath of the Queensland floods.

Among the ideas, suggestions from Neville Public School's learning support officer Lisa Paton and Punchbowl Boys High principal Jihad Dib helped shape the Maroon for a Day initiative.

Ms Paton said the annual rugby league State of Origin competition, between NSW and Queensland, influenced her idea to raise funds to replace valuable lost teaching resources and support traumatised Queensland school communities.

"Everywhere they turned they would see devastation and the psychological impact would be huge," she said.

 "I thought of the rivalry between the NSW and Queensland football teams and thought that would be the ultimate sign of support for us to dress in maroon."

Neville Public School will hold a football competition involving surrounding schools and a cake stall as part of its Maroon for a Day activities. The school started its fundraising drive at its swimming carnival earlier this year.

Mr Dib was also keen to support a NSW education department response to raise money for Queensland public school communities.

"Public schools are great places for community spirit and an event like this only serves to highlight, in a small way, what we can do to help those affected by this disaster," he said.

"We are generous by nature and it is highly likely that all schools would have donated towards the flood relief in one way or another. 

"The thinking behind this specific day is to ensure all schools, as part of a system, could make one powerful and collective statement about the greatness of NSW public education."

Public schools are required to deposit donations by 24 February, 2010 into the NSW education department's Charity Trust Account.  The funds will then be provided to the SchoolAid foundation to send to the Queensland education department.

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