Home' The Great Southern Star : March 30th 2016 Contents PAGE 16 - “THE STAR”, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
By Lucy Johnson
NICOLE Gibson, formerly of Le-
ongatha, won the big gong at the
Melbourne International Flower
and Garden Show recently.
Ms Gibson took out the gold medal for
a large exhibition in the Royal Exhibition
main hall, a prize coveted by florists and
floral artists across the country.
“I was very excited when I got the call
to say I won. It was my first large exhibit
and my first gold prize in the main hall,”
Ms Gibson won accolades for her three
panelled exhibit which featured tropical
leaves, chrysanthemums, Singapore or-
chids, anthuriums, pomegranates, lotus
pods and heliconias sprouting with metal
scourers transformed into blossoms.
Ms Gibson started her floristry studies
at Sauvarin Florists in Leongatha before
moving to Melbourne to complete her
apprenticeship. With more than 20 years
of experience in floristry, Ms Gibson said
her recent win would mark an enormous
milestone in her career.
“I am on the committee for the Austra-
lian Association of Floral Designers and
it was my turn to contribute an exhibit for
the main hall,” Ms Gibson said.
Ms Gibson designed the exhibit and
it was constructed on site over three days
with a team of helpers.
“It is always very hard work to put the
exhibit together but we have a great team
and a lot of students from Marjorie Milner
College helping out,” she said.
Ms Gibson has been the head floris-
try teacher at Marjorie Milner College
in Melbourne for 16 years now and also
achieved success as a teacher, with her
students winning categories across the
“My students won both first and sec-
ond place in intermediate and advanced
student categories against students from
all other floristry schools and TAFEs
across the country,” she said.
College students were treated
to an inspirational talk from
two professional athletes last
Commonwealth Games medallist
Anabelle Smith and silver medallist
paralympian Leanne del Toso spoke to
students about their experiences in sport
and study over the years.
Ms del Toso represented Australia in
wheelchair basketball at the 2012 Lon-
don Paralympics where her team won
the silver medal.
After Ms del Toso’s basketball team
did not qualify for the 2016 Rio Para-
lympics, the athlete said she has reas-
sessed her future on and off the court.
“You do not know where life is go-
ing to take you. So you have to take a
step in the direction of your interest and
in doing so doors will open,” she said.
“I am not fazed by my disabil-
ity. There are always so many differ-
ent ways you can get something done.
I push myself to the limit and as soon as
I started participating in sport I realised
nothing can stop me.”
“My family want me to settle down
but I want to keep playing for as long as
I can. At this point it is too early to tell
what my goals after Rio will be.”
Ms Smith shared her career high-
lights with students and passed around
her medals in diving from the 2010
Commonwealth Games, where she won
bronze for the synchronised 10m event,
and her bronze for the 10m platform at
the World Championships.
“I have always been up for a chal-
lenge and I started training seriously at
the beginning of high school,” she said.
Ms Smith said despite her incredible
athletic achievements, she worked hard
in school to ensure a future of further
study, having completed her VCE Eng-
lish exam within a week of competing
at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
“I am glad I tried my best and put in
as much effort as I could so I can study
now,” she said.
“I am studying clinical exercise and
physiology now so I can work in sport
in the future.”
Ms Smith will be competing in trials
next month in a bid to qualify for the
Rio Olympics later this year.
The athletes shared the keys to their
success with students.
“Perseverance is so important,” Ms
“If I listened to everybody who told
me I could not do it or could not com-
pete at this level, then I would not be
here today. You have to be confident in
your own abilities.”
SAFETY could be
South Gippsland Shire
Council last Wednesday
voted to investigate the
potential for improv-
ing the existing school
crossing and signage,
along with VicRoads, the
school and the Poowong
Council will also
carry out further pedes-
trian counts and monitor
future usage of the cross-
The decision was
made after council re-
ceived a petition with
480 signatures from the
tee calling for council
to consider installing
40km/h flashing speed
indicators on all school
Cr Lorraine Brunt,
of Poowong, said many
children walked and cy-
cled to school, and there
were concerns for their
safety, particularly given
the school was on the
road to an abattoir, which
generated a significant
volume of traffic.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-
fic does come bowling
into Poowong from the
Ranceby end. Maybe we
need to get the police to
do a bit of monitoring
through there. History
shows use that when that
monitoring is done, it is
usually the locals that get
The committee has
made similar requests
to council as far back as
Council and VicRoads
have in the past stated
Ranceby Road does not
carry enough traffic to
warrant flashing signs.
That position was re-
iterated by VicRoads and
council at a site meeting
on February 18 this year.
VicRoads agreed to
investigate alternative so-
lutions such as upgrading
the existing school speed
zone signs and improving
the school crossing 200m
west of the school.
The meeting also dis-
cussed the prospect of a
crossing supervisor at the
crossing. VicRoads said
it would only make a
contribution to the costs
of a supervisor if more
than 20 children per hour
used the crossing and
other requirements were
committee and school in-
dicated they may be able
to raise sufficient funds
to install flashing signs,
and VicRoad was ame-
nable to this.
Words of wisdom: from left, Anabelle Smith and Leanne del Toso shared their elite sporting experiences
with students from Korumburra Secondary College last Wednesday.
Athletes motivate youth
First place flowers: Nicole Gibson’s three panel exhibit took out one of the
top prizes at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show recently.
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