Wagga Christian College students salute to defence force families

Defence Day: Wagga Christian College students, like Noah Tasker, 14, were given a taste of military life, thanks to defence force staff members like FSGT Brendon Yate
Defence Day: Wagga Christian College students, like Noah Tasker, 14, were given a taste of military life, thanks to defence force staff members like FSGT Brendon Yate

Drills, salutes, an obstacle course and simulations gave school students a taste of military life at Wagga Christian College’s annual Defence Day this week. 

While the day of marching, physical challenges and flight-simulator demonstrations was eye-opening for some, it was very familiar to Holly Jobson. 

The daughter of former Kapooka commandant Steve Jobson is one of more than 30 students from defence force families that call Wagga home. 

Unlike other non-military families, Holly knows it wont be home for long. 

Following a promotion, the former commandant moved to Brisbane last year, where his family will join him at the end of the school year. 

Holly said it would be close to the ninth time she has moved with her family. She said knowing she wouldn’t be in one place for long had its ups and downs. 

“I get to see more things and go places others wouldn’t get to,” Holly said. “But I have to leave friends all the time.”

She said Defence Day gave students a chance to see the world through a defence force family’s eyes.  

Years 5 through to 8 were assigned a branch of the defence force to represent and they dressed in the traditional colours worn by the navy, army, air force and special forces to participate in the day’s activities.

Middle school coordinator, Heather Mansley described the day as a “wonderful way to demonstrate the role the defence force played in the community – a defence town”. She said it also helped to create a sense of belonging for students with parents in the army, navy or air force.

“A lot of the kids miss out on things like grandparents day because they live too far away,” Ms Mansley said. “And for some, one parent is always away so it can be difficult.”

Ms Mansley said students learned about personal sacrifice for the benefit of others. 

Deputy principal Phillip Wilson said the afternoon culminated in the presentation of an engraved ‘Defence Force Water Canteen’ trophy.

“Kids take a day out to experience what their friends go through, having military parents,” Mr Wilson said. “You can see some of them are so proud of what their parents do.”

Students also wrote thank you letters to defence families and participated in a Remembrance Day service.