Duo prepare to celebrate increasing independence

Nicholas Campbell and Lachlan Bilsborough are much like many other teen boys; they love music, socialising and are excited by their increasing independence.

And with preparations for their graduation from St Dominic’s Centre, Mayfield now well underway, the duo promises to bid farewell to their peers in spectacular fashion.

“There will be lots of singing and dancing,” says Lachlan with a grin.

Andrew Drinkwater has taught both Nicholas and Lachlan and said that the K-10 school community will miss them.

“The guys are fantastic fun to be around,” he said. “They have excelled in their leadership roles within the school this year, and as much as we’re excited for them to graduate, we’ll also miss their presence.”

With today marking International Day of People with Disability, Mr Drinkwater said it was the perfect opportunity for the community to stop and consider the unique abilities of each person.

“Today is not about focusing on people’s disability, but rather what we can all learn from each other. The students at St Dominic’s, including Nicholas and Lachlan, continue to inspire me each day and bring so much joy to our community.”

Next year Lachlan and Nicholas will attend St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, where they will complete the HSC Life Skills Syllabus for Years 11 & 12.

It is a prospect that excites them both.

“I am looking forward to seeing our old friends from St Dom’s, who started at the school this year,” said Nicholas, with them both adding that they are keen to make new friends as well.

Nicholas’ mother, Vanessa Campbell, said the transition between schools is another step in their journey towards independence.

“I think Nicholas will benefit from the different social interactions,” she said. “It will be a good opportunity for him to learn to navigate a new environment.”

Like Nicholas, Lachlan has attended the St Dominic’s Centre since they entered Year 7 in 2017.

Lachlan’s mother, Jo Bilsborough, said that at that time it was daunting moving her son from a mainstream school to St Dominic’s, which provides education to children with a range of disabilities including hearing impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Moderate Cognitive disability.

“It was such a big decision to make, but it was the best decision we’ve ever made,” she said.

“At first, I thought that the move might cause him to regress; however, it’s been the opposite. The teachers at St Dominic’s are so passionate; they want to be there with the kids, and they love them as much as the parents do. It’s incredible.”

Ms Bilsborough said that the staff at St Dominic’s have supported her son endlessly, and forged opportunities to support his interest and talents, particularly in music.

“It will be sad to see him leave, but he is ready for the next stage.”

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Lizzie Snedden Image
Lizzie Snedden

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.