Feeling the Force Star Wars actor inspires students

August 02, 2017

Cobram Secondary College captains Charlotte Wright and Alex Gardner with Spencer Wilding.

Spencer Wilding, who plays Darth Vader in Rogue One, gets up close and personal with R2D2 during his Cobram Secondary College visit last week.

Spencer Wilding cuts the birthday cake the students made for him.

Cobram Secondary College's Year 12 drama class takes tips from the pro.

Amelia Williams from Year 8 with Spencer Wilding and her poster design.

Atop a group of CFA trainees, Spencer Wilding reigns supreme.

Cobram Secondary College principal John Sciacca with the Hollywood star.

Cobram Secondary College had a hectic schedule last week with a visit from UK actor Spencer Wilding.

The special creature actor — famed for big-screen appearances in the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises and other blockbusters — engaged in a wide variety of activities with students during his three-day visit.

The actor expressed his pleasure at being able to spend time with the students at the college.

‘‘I love visiting schools all over the world — but this has exceeded my expectations,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a real special school this one, you’ve got some really positive, talented kids.

‘‘It will be interesting to come back in a year or two and just see how they are getting on.

‘‘There’s a lot of them that have got their own dreams and are very intelligent as well.

‘‘It’s been great, they’ve let me do many things — joining in the classes and even giving them some kickboxing lessons.

‘‘I love Australia — it’s great, the people are friendly, they’re beautiful, they’ve shown me a lot of love.’’

With such a wrap for Oz, can we expect a return visit from the Hollywood star?

‘‘Maybe next year sometime, we’ve got family over here in Sydney, so probably more of a holiday,’’ Wilding said.

‘‘It’s only an hour away on a flight, so I’ll probably leave them over there and jump back here for a day or two and have a lot of fun.’’

College principal John Sciacca said the visit provided a host of opportunities for the students.

‘‘It was a benefit for students to have someone with credibility in the film industry,’’ Mr Sciacca said.

‘‘It was the inspirational factor — it lets them know that if they try hard enough they can get there.

‘‘Spencer told us about his own issues with dyslexia and we know reading is the foundation block when it comes to reducing barriers to opportunity.

‘‘It was an exciting opportunity for us to host someone in Cobram with Spencer’s calibre of experience.

‘‘The ball was magnificent, we had a full house — it was a great fundraiser for the school and brought the community together, not just the school but the surrounding Cobram community,’’ Mr Sciacca said.

‘‘We had a great night together, with Spencer sharing his stories.

‘‘His rapport with the students was great — we gave all students the chance to interact with him over the three days.

‘‘They were able to ask questions and be part of the action in a variety of classes, from drama to CFA, Q&A sessions and the dress-up days.

‘‘Looking back on it — it was just magnificent.’’

Mr Sciacca expected that a period of evaluation would follow the visit.

‘‘Hopefully the students can look at where they are at with their studies, making sure they read even more during our Illuminate sessions at school, and at home, and that they start to formulate in their own minds what they want to achieve,’’ he said.

‘‘The college is a part of making that happen — it’s about partnerships between the student, the family and the teachers here at the school.’’

- Grahame Whyte

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