BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: 2014 graduate Jordan Lee, Shayne Shevelling (attended in 2015), principal Dale Hansen and Hamish Sceney (attended in 2015).
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: 2014 graduate Jordan Lee, Shayne Shevelling (attended in 2015), principal Dale Hansen and Hamish Sceney (attended in 2015). Alistair Brightman

Nikenbah school's sweet success

WHEN Nikenbah's Carinity Education Glendyne opened in 1998 on the grounds of a former pineapple farm, the school had just five students.

Skipping ahead 20 years to the present day, the local independent school celebrated it's two decade anniversary yesterday with students past and present.

The Hervey Bay school caters to students from Years 6 to 12, including at-risk and disengaged youth who have struggled to overcome personal barriers and challenges.

The co-educational campus specialises in working with students who have difficulty in traditional mainstream education. The first student intake of five young men who began their journeys at Carinity had experienced extremely adverse life circumstances.

Carinity Education Glendyne Principal Dale Hansen said when it opened it was a Youth Training Centre and solely funded as a Baptist Community Ministry.

"Lessons taught beneath the pineapple farmhouse consisted mainly of literacy, numeracy, practical farm skills and welding, delivered under the umbrella of the Brisbane School of Distance Education,” Mr Hansen said.

"Despite their history, the initial student group of five disadvantaged young men expressed the same desire to make a success of their lives. And that's the same for today's students.”

About 120 young men and women make up this year's cohort and "hundreds, if not a thousand or more” positive educational outcomes have been achieved for students over the past two decades.

"Our teachers and staff get much satisfaction from seeing teenagers who arrived at Glendyne lacking direction and confidence and with a clouded educational future, and seeing them develop into valuable contributors to their community,” Mr Hansen said.

"Students benefit from a welcoming environment, smaller class sizes and a specialised curriculum and enjoy higher levels of staff support that is usually not available in mainstream schools.”

Students can undertake accredited vocational training courses in fields such as hospitality, construction, retail, outdoor recreation, engineering, furnishing and IT, as part of their senior curriculum.

"Often students who may struggle with regular academic school work in the classroom have an aptitude for hands-on work skills and flourish while undertaking vocational training,” Mr Hansen said.

"Being able to give our older students the opportunity to undertake vocational training opens up many more career pathways for them once they graduate from secondary school.”