The 3214 community and people beyond are being urged to invest in the future of education for Corio and Norlane children through the Northern Bay Challenge.

The challenge is an initiative of the Funds For The Future Board and aims to engage the entire community to support local education opportunities for young residents.

Northern Bay College Principal and Board member Fred Clarke said one of the key aims is to engage local families to support their children and the school. In return it will promise to do what it can to guide students towards tertiary education, apprenticeships or other work.

“We want local children to go to their local school and be proud of where they live, play sport and engage with the community,” he said. “We want families to value education.”

Mr Clarke said the college can provide support and make promises about future opportunities for students, but it requires effort by everyone to be successful. He said school leadership and staff are being challenged to make a difference and some key agencies are already helping with sponsorship of some students.

In what it believes is an Australian first, the college is calling on the community to sponsor all of its students. The Northern Bay Challenge is registered through the Geelong Community Foundation, which allows tax free donations to be made into the Northern Bay College Scholarship Fund.

Mr Clarke said donations have already been received from all over Australia and internationally. The aim is to establish a $10 million scholarship fund so that all children can be supported to stay at school.

“This really is a call to arms,” he said. “We’ve had quite a lot of media interest and some of the data we’ve quoted is quite confronting for some kids … but it’s their data. We just want people to care as a community and believe in us to deliver.”

To support the Northern Bay Challenge, contact Deborah Barclay, phone 5245-3501 or email barclay.deborah.d@edumail.vic.gov.au.

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