Move to big school need not be daunting

The transition from primary to high school can be a daunting time for students and their families. Especially stepping into a new environment surrounded by new faces and with endless subjects and opportunities from which to choose.

That is why secondary schools in our Diocese aim to make the process a smooth and positive experience. Programs are designed to ensure students feel comfortable and excited to take that step of starting a new chapter to complete their final years of schooling.

St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm offers a transition program to welcome new students to the school. This involves many opportunities for incoming students to visit St Bede’s, meet the teachers, experience classroom life and become familiar with the school setting.

Year 8 student Thomas Bendeich provides insight into this experience during his transition from St Aloysius Catholic Primary School to St Bede’s. Starting St Bede’s in Year 7 was an exciting time for Thomas as it was still a brand-new school.

“It’s an uncanny experience compared to any other school,” Thomas said. “The style of learning is modern and like St Aloysius in some ways, and vastly different in others.”

Thomas chose St Bede’s for his high school education due to its unique nature. “There is literally no other school like it,” he said.

“The school offers services that no other school does, and it has achieved so many things and it has only been opened for two years. It also caters to all students’ special talents and abilities. For example, if you play a sport competitively, you can represent the school in it. If you have a certain talent or are interested in playing a musical instrument, you can get lessons. I play the saxophone and get lessons during school time every Wednesday morning.”

Thomas said the transition to St Bede’s was very warm and welcoming. “St Bede’s is an inclusive community and people welcomed the new Year 7s very nicely. Everyone got a chance to become familiar with the environment and the people here.”

Year 7 Student Coordinator, Michael Eccleston, says “students from St Aloysius experience a smooth transition to St Bede’s due to the similar style of modern learning”.

“The academic similarities between the two schools include familiarity of flexible learning spaces,” Mr Eccleston said. “Students are well versed with technology including saving items to the cloud, using OneNote and Compass.

“Most importantly, St Aloysius students begin high school with extremely well-developed relationships that have grown and prospered throughout the Year 7 at St Bede’s.”

As one of the newest high schools in the Diocese, St Bede’s offers endless opportunities for students to excel and develop their talents. Thomas was fortunate to be able to showcase his talents at the 2019 DioSounds.

“DioSounds was one of the first opportunities made available to me because of my saxophone playing, and now I have a chance to participate in any music event that I’m asked to be a part of,” he said.

Thomas has a strong passion for music and is fortunate to have a fantastic music teacher who provides a wide range of musical opportunities for students. “We play a lot of instruments and if you are particularly versed in a certain instrument you can play it in class … music class is very practical and hands-on which is great.”

Music isn’t his only talent – Thomas also excels in swimming and competes three times a week and receives personal training twice a week.

“As a student of St Bede’s, I believe you must be courageous,” he said. “This sort of environment is a new evolution in the way of learning and to take the risk and attend a school that hasn’t got a massive reputation yet or hasn’t had a graduating class yet requires a tremendous amount of faith and courage.

“It’s also about being opening and welcoming, accepting anyone from anywhere regardless of their past choices or situation.”

Thomas has thoroughly enjoyed his past two years at St Bede’s and looks forward to seeing his younger brother attend the college in six years’ time.

He has great ambitions and hopes to become a lawyer and then transition into politics. “I hope to make a genuine difference to this brilliant country,” he said.

We wish Thomas all the best for his future endeavours.

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.