Mount Carmel School students perform dance at Wakakirri

The students at Mount Carmel School had an important message to tell at the Wakakirri Story Dance Challenge last week.

They travelled to Canberra Theatre to join 16 other schools in the ACT heat and perform 'Protecting our Forest'.

Protect our Forest: Mount Carmel Students perform during the Wakakirri Story Dance Challenge in Canberra. Photo: Winkipop Media

Protect our Forest: Mount Carmel Students perform during the Wakakirri Story Dance Challenge in Canberra. Photo: Winkipop Media

The students' dance was named after their inspiration to look after the environment and protect the Red Chested Robin, a bird endangered locally.

The dance tells the story of the robin living in a forest and becoming extinct due to environmental changes such as pollution.

The students then bring the robin back to life to show damage to the environment can still be reversed.

The dance was coordinated by Mount Carmel teachers Katrina Grace and Tara Cassidy.

"It's so nice to see country kids getting up in front of an audience of thousands and performing their dance after so much practice and hard work," Ms Cassidy said.

"The students did an amazing job."

Ms Cassidy said each student performed different dance moves depending on their character.

"They spent quite a bit of time researching and rehearsing which movements their creature would make and a lot of the movements came from the kids themselves," she said.

Mount Carmel won eight awards during the challenge and one of the judges, James Tran, described their dance as, "A great performance advocating local conservation!"

The students received: Spirit of Wakakirri, Best Teamwork, Most Creative Reuse of Materials for Costumes, Excellent Solo Dance, Excellent Theme/Concept, Excellent Ensemble, Amazing Finale and Excellent Construction and Clarity.

"Spirit of Wakakirri is such a good award to get. It used to be called Best School in Public, so for us to get that is a nice feeling because it shows the kids were showing their best side to everyone," Ms Cassidy said.

"It was also great to get Creative Reuse of Materials for Costumes considering we were doing a performance on the environment.

"Most of the materials were found around the school from other performances or the kids brought in their own clothing or borrowed them from friends," Ms Cassidy said.

Despite not being one to perform on stage herself, Ms Cassidy has been behind Mount Carmel's Wakakirri performances since 2011.

She was in her second year of teaching when she raised her hand to help with the Wakakirri.

"I thought it would be a great experience for the kids. We do it every second year," Ms Cassidy said.

"I get so much out of it. You see their confidence, team work and enthusiasm grow. It's hour and hours of work but the final night makes it all worth it."

Wakakirri is the biggest performing arts event for primary and secondary schools across the country.

More than 280 schools and 20,000 students took part this year.

The challenge encourages students to share stories and express their thoughts, ideas and aspirations through the performing arts.

Mother Teresa, Rosary, Torrens, Charnwood-Dunlop, Harrison and Miles Franklin Public Schools have gone through from the ACT heat to the nationals.