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Keagan and Co clean up to save black rhinos
Written on the 22 November 2016 by scotch
Scotch College student Keagan Wallace has a passion for the plight of the critically endangered black rhinoceros and was inspired to write a children's book, A Crash of Rhinos, which launches Thursday at Scotch College.
Keagan, 11, was mentored by Australian author Emma McTaggart after winning a national writing competition last year. After finishing the book with her help, he decided part-proceeds from sales would go to the International Anti- Poaching Foundation (IAPF).
"I have visited South Africa five times and been fortunate to see black and white rhinos in the wild,'' Keagan said. "I have become aware of the poaching problem.
"Emma helped me shorten my story initially. It was about three times too long." The Year 5 student said rhinos which are hunted for their horns were amazing animals, which like so many other species, needed attention because they were endangered. But Keagan said he was more than happy to write about an Australian endangered animal if a publisher could be found.
"I visit the zoo regularly with my family," he said. "I reckon the yellow-footed rock wallaby or hairy-nosed wombat would make great characters in a picture book."
When Scotch's Year 2 to 6 teachers found out Keagan was donating part-proceeds to the IAPF, they included the foundation's philanthropy challenge as part of the school's service learning curriculum. This involves students doing chores; they are sponsored from 10c to a maximum of $5 a task. Home chores included washing a car, walking a dog, vacuuming, setting the table and unpacking the dishwasher.
At school, students worked in its garden, played with a buddy, cared for the chooks or did random acts of kindness to others. Year 5 teacher Anne Fromholtz said the service learning unit aimed to help students understand what it meant to be a good citizen and to give back to the community.
Classes supported Keagan's idea of donating to the IAPF and some of the money students raised from the chores would also be donated to the organisation. Her Year 5 class also learned about historical events such as the Eureka Stockade, South Australia's suffragettes and the referendum for the Aboriginal right to vote.
"Keagan's enthusiasm and passion for the plight of the baby black rhino inspired everyone,'' she said.
"From this simple idea, a new program began. Students realised that they too could make a small difference by helping at home and at school, and also save endangered animals."
The student with the highest record of chores earned will receive a copy of the book from Keagan.
-- original article by Martina Simos appeared in The Advertiser, 22 November 2016. Photo: Amy, Eliza, Henry and Keagan washing cars to raise money. Pic by Sam Wundke
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