Lionel Cavanagh. Photo: South Burnett Times
Lionel Cavanagh. Photo: South Burnett Times

Club in crisis after teacher dies

THE death of Monto State High School teacher Lionel Cavanagh has caused a crisis in the school’s cattle club, with fears that the award-winning program may be axed.

Since the school’s agriculture teacher was killed in a car crash on January 14, members fear their group may not be able to continue because the new agriculture teacher has no experience in cattle.

“It’s ridiculous to send an agriculture teacher with no experience in cattle to a place where it’s all graziers,” long-term club volunteer Robert Nowland said.

He said the club was a source of pride for many students at the school, and for the community as a whole.

“To stop the club would bring an end to its students’ activities at the school and stud cattle shows they would attend,” he said.

“To make it worse, the cattle herd of Monto High School of some 40 head will now be culled to nine head.”

Mr Nowland said Mr Cavanagh had worked hard to give children a chance to learn cattle-handling skills, public-speaking skills, stud cattle and carcass-judging skills. Some of these students then went on to become ambassadors for the town of Monto.

“It is a complete insult to the late Mr Cav and putting in place a ‘Clayton’s scheme’ is just not good enough,” he said.

He said he would try to keep the scheme running with the help of agricultural assistant Graham Radel, but it would be difficult without support from the school.

Education Queensland Wide Bay North executive director Ken Collier stressed that the cattle club program had not been axed.

“The school has put cattle club on hold for the time being to allow students, teachers and the school community time to recover from the tragic passing of Lionel Cavanagh,” Mr Collier said.

“The school has handled this matter appropriately and sensitively to ensure the wellbeing of all involved in the club. This program was always an extra-curricular activity with strong community ties.”



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