The 2021 school year has come to an end, and there’s one group of students who have made history at Communities@Work’s Galilee School in Kambah.
The inaugural cohort of senior secondary college students has completed year 11, and will now go on to become the first year 12 graduates at the school at the end of 2022.
Galilee School principal Tim McNevin said completing year 11 and year 12 will be a “wonderful milestone” for the students who have demonstrated resilience and determination during Canberra’s COVID-19 lockdown.
“For these young people who arrived at Galilee School some years ago with a negative perception of themselves as learners and with limited hopes and aspirations for the future, to graduate year 12 and look to the future with optimism, hope and a sense of achievement will be life-changing,” he said.
“The students have new and strengthening hope in achieving their ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, and a future that qualification can unlock and reveal to them.”
The senior college opened this year and provides training, skill development and job-ready support for disengaged and vulnerable students as they transition into the workforce, or go on to further educational opportunities.
Mr McNevin said the first year of operations exceeded his expectations, with staff pioneering a new program while also building an understanding of the ACT Senior Secondary College system, and students embracing the flexible learning journey.
“We have learned a good deal as a staff team,” he said.
“Our young people have given us good feedback, and we have taken that feedback onboard to adjust the shape of the program and some of the approaches taken.”
He said parents are “so very grateful” for the opportunities and support the school has offered their young people.
Galilee School’s senior secondary college coordinator Benjamin Brown said students and teachers worked together to achieve success throughout 2021 despite the added stress of remote learning.
He says the current cohort of 22 senior students, who have previously struggled with mainstream schooling, have set themselves realistic and achievable goals and are well on their way to successfully completing year 12.
“I’m excited to see the completion of this process, and I can see the vast majority of students graduating next year,” says Mr Brown.
All students will complete English and maths components, and can choose from a number of specialist learning disciplines including construction and hospitality, as well as apprenticeship support programs.
Students have learnt skills they have put into practice throughout the year.
Hospitality students prepared food for the principal’s barbecue in semester one; for year 11 exhibition night; Reconciliation Week morning tea; and a major Menslink lunch in semester two.
Construction students built magazine racks, toolboxes, mallets and jewellery boxes, and created and painted food truck facades for the Senior Secondary College official opening ceremony.
Mr McNevin says a highlight of the year was the exhibition night where students showcased their achievements in all areas of the school’s curriculum.
“Our hospitality students provided high-quality catering for the event, our timber and construction students showcased their woodworking projects, and connected learning, maths and English classes showed samples of work from across the semester,” he said.
“However, the real highlight was the self-reflective way in which the young people could reflect on the learning journey that each of them is on.”
During the year, a number of students gained Asbestos Awareness and Building and Construction Industry WHS White Card certificates in partnership with the Canberra Institute of Technology.
The COVID-19 vaccination In Reach program was delivered to students, their families and staff of Galilee School through a partnership between Aspen Medical, ACT Health and the ACT Education Directorate.
“The In Reach program gave us strength and confidence as a school as we transitioned back to face-to-face learning,” said Mr McNevin.
“The resilience of our young people to sustain effort through lockdown and return to school with focus, energy and enthusiasm to achieve the goals they set for themselves this year is a real inspiration.”
Students finishing year 10 at Galilee School in 2021 will be offered a position in the senior secondary college next year, with limited places still available for referrals from other schools.
People interested in exploring whether year 11 or year 12 at Galilee School might be a good option for them in 2022 are encouraged to contact the school and request a referral form.
Year 11 and year 12 students will move into a new purpose-built campus facility at Kambah in the second half of 2022.
Communities at Work’s Galilee School is a registered, independent secondary school which seeks to inspire young people to realise their full potential by developing and utilising their unique talents and capabilities, and by aiding students to find a sense of purpose and value in themselves as productive and worthwhile members of our community.