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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An Awards Afternoon At My School

Yesterday I went to the awards afternoon at my old school. I was invited as part of the tradition by which retired staff get a speech made over them by the principal at the student awards day following their retirement. It has really been a year, but I was officially on long service leave till July of this year, so they left it till this year end, and I’m glad they did, because it gave me the excuse to go and find out how my former students were doing.

And oh, how proud they made me! One of my former students, Thuy, was dux of the school, with an ATAR of 96.85! She was one of my most enthusiastic library users(she read my novel Wolfborn in Year 7) and in my Year 8. She was an EAL student, but the quirks of the timetable also put her into my English class. When I did my first Hero’s Journey writing exercise, this young lady wrote nine thousand words! With a Vietnamese accent... She had to move to one of our other campuses the next year, but settled in okay. She is a quiet, shy little thing, but they made her do a speech, poor kid. She politely thanked her teachers and her family and then got off stage with relief!

Only about half a point behind her in ATAR(Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) was Simon, another of my students. He was in my Year 8 history class. When he was doing his assignment on the Vikings, he wrote his heading, “Viking Daily Life”, in runes! I also got the kids doing iMovies for their Middle Ages assignment and he and his friend did a very impressive one. I think I still have the file somewhere. Simon was good at everything, but maths and science were his best, and he got high scores in both physics and maths in his external exams.

The third student who made me extremely proud yesterday was his friend Loc. Loc got a top score in Further Maths. He was also in my Year 8 history class. I met him on the way to the hall. We had a chat, when he thanked me for his Western Chances scholarship - I got one for him and Simon - which he said had been very helpful. I told him he was most welcome, but that he had deserved it. He said he wanted to do audiology at Latrobe University; with his score of 92.15 I rather think he will get there. His dream, in Year 8, was forensics. He might yet use his audiology for that, since forensic scientists specialise in an area.

Simon already got a scholarship to Melbourne University, the careers teacher told me. Maybe he will do Engineering as he dreamed of doing in Year 8. My Western Chances scholarship boy can do anything he wants now! And  I am so proud I could burst!

I saw and chatted with colleagues, but what made me happiest was the number of students who came up to me or waved me over to chat and tell me they missed me. One of the young men who was in my literacy class last year gave me a hug.

So glad I went! 


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - that sounds like an amazing and happy time you had being back ... they obviously enjoyed your classes, and you have obviously enhanced their opportunities in life. No wonder you're so happy - cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hilary! Yes, one nice thing about teaching is that you can make a difference in a way you can't in many other careers. And my school is a disadvantaged one. The Western Chances scholarships are for kids who are bright but who might not be able to achieve their dreams because they haven't the money. Simon and Loc are both VERY bright young men, but poor as church mice. Their scholarships paid for their text books and bought them lap tops and offered them things like an engineering camp during the holidays. It meant they could just get on with their studies, without having to worry about how they were going to pay for the equipment.