Touring FOA - Australia & New Zealand

‘Without a doubt the highlight of every year is getting out and screening the films,' says Focus On Ability (FOA) Creative Director Ryan Goodwin.

This year the national tour visited Melbourne, Auckland, Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta, and was attended by hundreds of students, teachers and potential employers all enthusiastic about the ability of people with disability.

‘People leave the events really motivated to help us on this path of inclusion,' says Ryan.

This task is easy when you have such talent as was found among Australian and New Zealand schools in 2018. Films screened include the five NOVA Choice school winners that each received $1000:

1. Yarraville Special Developmental School made a film called ‘Samuel Baker Student, Friend and Firefighter', which featured a fantastical element to this largely autobiographical and entertaining work.

2. The interview style in Amy's Journey by Seaview High School in South Australia works well to reveal Amy's skills and personality. Apparently this young woman with visual impairment is a very fast reader!

3. ‘Paper' from Rosewood State High School in Queensland showcases the many and varied talents of the students across art, music, sport, traineeship and citizenship. The film's effectiveness is evident through the number of glowing comments it received online after the screening.

4. Students of Pennant Hills High School get to do a subject called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), which is showcased in their film ‘Focus on STEMAbility'. They measured, designed, sawed and glued planter boxes for pots that can be planted with herbs, flowers or succulents, and given away as gifts.

5. Claire Mahaki, Head of Learning Diversity at Wiaheke High School, believes passionately in the multiple intelligences. ‘I believe we're all talented and skilled in a range of different areas... The motto of the school is: 'Fulfil your goals to the furthest horizon.' Then, once you've achieved those skills, use them to achieve future goals.' Their film ‘Waiheke Hi' demonstrates each of the students doing just that.

Each of the schools is truly focusing on - and growing - ability, not least of all Matraville Sports High School as demonstrated in ‘White Noise'. For their top effort, they won $5000 and a NOVA Entertainment day, which involves touring the Nova/Smooth FM radio stations, meeting on-air talent and doing some recordings.

Congratulations all participants and thanks for highlighting ability!