5 Oct 2023

Michael Platt

Outstanding Contribution to School Community

Michael Platt

Elanora State High School teacher Michael Platt selflessly runs a skateboard building workshop that allows meaningful conversations with students and their families.

Teaching for the last 15 years in schools in Canberra and Queensland, Michael’s previous career was as a soldier in the Australian Army. He discovered education was where he belonged while delivering construction lessons to Indigenous people in a small Aboriginal community near Broome in Western Australia.

He now coordinates the Soul Sk8 program, which runs for nine weeks on Monday nights for twelve students each term. Participants engage in weekly talks with Michael, enjoying some food while building a skateboard together, from the mold up. The program builds trust with community members that may not have ever had a positive interaction with the school. A number of students on behavioural referrals also take part in Soul Sk8 with an adult in their life, to engage in deeper conversations through the weekly prompts Michael provides.

In addition to his student support program, Michael builds and maintains the school’s community garden. He tends to the garden on his weekends off and ensures it is in the best condition with plants and supplies he provides out of his own pocket. Michael also organises and contributes to a men’s mental health program, in which colleagues engage in active pursuits like archery, golf, and lawn bowls to look out for each other and improve their wellbeing.

Michael is proud the Soul Sk8 programme gives students and their parents an opportunity to bond and create something together. He says making an impact, and connecting with his students, is what brings him back to school each day.

In his nomination, colleagues write:

“The positive flow on effect to all areas of the community would not be possible without Michael going above and beyond for the school.”

Tags: TeachX > 2023 > Community > Winner