TEACHERS at Yanchep’s oldest school are determined to inspire students, despite the ageing facilities.
There has been discontent in the community about the state of facilities at Yanchep District High School, which opened in 1975 as a primary school and expanded to a district high in 1981.
Parents have bemoaned the loss of a $10 million upgrade promised in 2012, and campaigns led to the Education Department spending more than $1 million last year on improvements.
Principal Alan Curtis said the school had great teachers, among them newcomer Michael Clanton who is teaching design and technology in a recently refurbished classroom.
Coming from a diverse career background that includes working in the US military, being a clothing designer and teaching the arts across regional WA, Mr Clanton recently retrained to teach the subject.
He joined YDHS full time this term to teach Years 7 to 10 jewellery design, graphic design and photography.
“I’m teaching them how to be a bit more creative,” he said.
“I’m very happy to be here; the kids are just awesome.
“The school is a beautiful school and the staff are just outstanding.”
Originally from Alabama, Mr Clanton travelled around the world three times and was involved in three wars with the US Navy and Special Forces.
He moved to Australia in the 1980s and has worked for himself and private companies as a designer and in computing.
With three degrees and a graduate diploma under his belt, Mr Clanton has been teaching in regional and metropolitan schools since graduating in 2009.
“I fell in love with teaching; to give something back before I retire,” the 54-year-old said.
The father-of-six grown daughters said Yanchep was often described as a low socio-economic area, but compared to other parts of the world it was wealthy.
“I’ve seen places where they are taught in tents,” he said.
“This place is such an educational gold mine.
“Yanchep is just a small part of the world, but it is a foundation base.”
Mr Clanton said part of the teaching challenge was encouraging students to put down their mobile phones.
“Students in the metropolitan area don’t do enough reading – they are so busy on their mobile phones.
“I don’t allow any mobile phones in the classroom.
“It’s a learning tool, but it doesn’t control your life.”
His students are learning how to make jewellery out of old cutlery, designing homes out of sea containers and photographing ideas for what they want in Yanchep in 10 years.
“This is my community and I want to invest as much as I can,” the Alkimos resident said.
“I’m really glad I can contribute back to my community.
“We are just planting seeds of greatness – we are here to nurture.
“The school it just a building – it’s what you put into that building that makes it what it is.”
Outside school, Mr Clanton designs men’s wear through his business Haus of C.