SOMERTON Public students might have thought a two-day beach break was a real treat – but now a sympathetic coastal school has come up with something even more special.
A month after the local school was devastated by the theft of their pet bearded dragon Rocco, The Entrance Public School (TEPS) has offered not only the holiday – but a new pet.
This week, the local students will host a quick visit from The Entrance pupils, then head back with them to stay for a couple of nights.
“They’ll be taking an unforgettable souvenir back with them on Friday: Wattle the bearded dragon,” TEPS deputy principal Nicole Heazlewood said.
TEPS students had already been collecting money and non-perishable food for the drought-affected families of the 29-student school at Somerton.
A coach service offered to deliver the donations and visiting students and staff to Somerton, then back to the coast.
“Camp Toukley have donated two nights’ accommodation and food for our visitors, and we’ll be giving them a real taste of the coastal life, with things like visits to the beach and feeding the pelicans,” Ms Heazlewood said.
But after hearing of Rocco’s theft during a weekend break-in, they decided to meet that need, too, with the help of a licensed breeder.
“[Wattle will] be enjoying a luxurious inland life thanks to a proper reptile enclosure with all the trimmings – lamp, heatpad etc, donated by another local business,” Ms Heazlewood said.
“We are … delighted to translate such a strong spirit of support into practical and lasting benefit.”
Somerton school principal Kylie Lacey said she was “absolutely speechless at the generosity”.
“You never ask for anything like this ... it’s been like watching a movie of incredible generosity where people just make things happen; only it really is happening,” she said.
“It's been a ‘pinch yourself so you know it’s real’ kind of journey.”