We know Year 9 is a critical time where teenagers can lose interest in school. It’s also a time of self-discovery, where students are searching for more relevancy and broader experiences beyond the classroom.
The range is endless – from fashion to art, photography, music, writing, sport, furniture and re-designing materials. In Personal Best, students learn valuable skills such as time management, organisation and presentation, attention to detail and commitment. They submit a folio that tracks their project step-by-step and describes their personal growth along the way. Personal Best presentation night is a fun and fascinating family event each year at the College.
An important part of Common Good is creating a documentary on a cause – homelessness, poverty, social media, or whatever is of interest to each student. They write the script, perform, edit and record a 10-minute documentary which is screened for parents. Students learn co-operation, teamwork, communication and presentation as well as more about their chosen issue.
City Experience is a time to explore Melbourne’s amazing diversity and discover its history, geography and art. Regular city visits include spending time with charity groups such as Urban Seed and the Salvation Army. Students learn how to make decisions, how to navigate different types of public transport, time management and organisation. A highlight is ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ (featured on ABC radio), where students hand small gifts or poems to people on Melbourne’s streets to brighten their day.
Student wellbeing is a cornerstone of the College as we recognise that good mental health is fundamental to positive growth and development. Counsellors, chaplains and other support staff provide a strong student welfare network.
Each student belongs to one of eight Houses. Each House has a tutor or Learning Mentor who accompanies their House’s students on experiential days, camps and excursions and is the main ‘go to’ person each day for parents and students. The Learning Mentor is responsible for the wellbeing of their students and writes the semester report.
In Year 9, students do a 10-day camp – the Great South West Coast at Portland, where they hike, canoe, ride mountain bikes and take part in an environmental clean-up along the coast. Students also join an indigenous program where they learn about the local culture with traditional owners. Students learn teamwork, overcoming adversity and challenge, co-peration and collaboration. The camp is technology-free, encouraging students to experience the environment and interaction with others without the distractions of technology.
Year 9 staff teach Mathematics, English, Humanities and Science, while other specialist staff take PE, Japanese or French and a range of elective subjects. Experiential days relate to learning in the core subjects.