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EXPRESS The Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Locally owned and proudly independent Tobacco tribute A small Tableland community has spent five years and $40,000 to ensure that future generations never forget the industry that built Mareeba and Dimbulah. On November 30, more than 150 people gathered at Heritage Park, Dimbulah for the official opening of the Dimbulah Lions Club’s Tobacco Project. The centrepiece of the display is a life-sized, copper replica of a ZZ-100 tobacco plant created by Tableland visual artist Amanda Feher. Dimbulah Lions Eddie Toffanello and Jamie De Lai with visual artist Amanda Feher who has constructed a 35-leaf tobacco plant out of copper as part of the Dimbulah Lions Club Tobacco Project. FULL STORY P7 Sophie’s Silent Night By Boyd Robertson C hristmas carols don’t have to be sung to warm a heart. Students at Mareeba State School (MSS) have sacrificed their free time learning skills to help a disabled girl communicate in class. MSS prep student Sophie McDonald, 7, from Mareeba, has profound progressive hearing loss and uses both a cochlear implant and hearing aid. To help her better communicate with her peers, staff at the school established an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) Club at the beginning of the school year to teach sign language to other students. The Auslan Club has grown over the course of the year from seven to more than 30 members and includes both junior and senior primary students and staff. Giving up their first lunch breaks on Mondays and Fridays and even coming in after school, the students have quickly picked up Auslan to the point where they can have full conversations with Sophie and perform as a sign language choir. The choir has performed at the Mareeba Multicultural Festival, MSS’s Awards Night and a special Auslan Morning Tea held at the school. They also performed ‘Away in a Manger’ to an enraptured crowd at Carols in the Park in Arnold Park on Sunday night. MSS Students With Disabilities teacher Karen Gangemi said the objective of the Auslan club was to create awareness of ‘deaf culture’ within the school. “If the other students and teachers don’t have an understanding of deaf culture it becomes difficult for people like Sophie in school,” she said. “We are trying to create a bilingual culture here – Auslan is essentially another language.” Sophie’s educational interpreter Susi Weaver said the choir practice was not only fun for the students but also helped Sophie learn Auslan and enjoy using it. “The Auslan Club helps her enjoy communicating with others more,” she said. “On the playground with other students she will have whole conversations in sign with her peers. “The presence of this club is why there is a mother from Kuranda that is going to be bringing her deaf child here next year, because of the learning of sign language in the school.” Ms Gangemi said she hoped the club would continue into the future. “This is something that I think is vital to disabled students and it should definitely keep going,” she said. “It’s also not just about benefits in school – it’s a pathway to jobs for students that could one day to be educators or work with disabled people.” What’s New At Amaroo? Price reduced Inspect today! Lots from $90,000 Designer Queenslander $424,000 Neg 4 Bed, Ensuite, WIR to the Master Master Chef Kitchen 888m2 Landscaped Dual Access Inspect today Display Home/ Land Sales Office open Wed- Sun 10am -3.00 - 31 Amaroo Dr ee b a arr ow Y ng N elli S Contact : Debbie 0409 321 920

The Express Newspaper 4 December 2013

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