On the first two days of the 2019 school year, our Year 12 students headed down to the Elwood Sailing Club for a program to prepare them for the prodigious year ahead. The Step-Up program is our annual induction into Year 12 that explores crucial aspects needed for a successful Year 12 year, such as study habits and tips, ways to deal with stress, pathways and goal setting.
On the first day, College Captains Sabrina Phillips and Hugo Radovanovic addressed their peers, discussing their focus for the year: building relationships, their common goals, and making an impact as a year level. Ms. Bentley and Mr. England then gave a presentation on post-VCE pathways. Following this, four 2018 Year 12 students, Aleksander Macleod, Jonathan Zuk, Ledia Terolli and Zoe Eyles, came to speak to the students in groups about their individual experiences of Year 12 and give their firsthand advice.
Year 12 student Eric Farrugia was “really happy that last year’s Year 12s mentioned to ‘do what works for you’, because we all work differently… hearing this advice from them was very comforting.” Afterwards, Mr Kinch spoke to the students about stress management and meditation techniques useful for maintaining mental health. Eric’s favourite part of the Step-Up program was “listening to Mr. Kinch teach us about meditation, because in this day and age people have forgotten how to relax and zone-in on life; see it the way it is.”
The final workshop for day 1 was a seminar from Elevate Education. The presenters from this research group gave the students tips on how to study effectively and manage their time. Hugo recalls this presentation as “really good, because they didn’t tell you how to study, it was more helping you figure out your own plan of attack.”
The next day, the Year 12s rotated between beach exercise, goal setting and support circles workshops. They then participated in the Elwood College tradition of creating ‘memories bunting’, in which students write down their favourite memories from their time at the school on triangular paper and create a colourful garland, allowing students the opportunity to come together to reflect on the highlights of their high school experience. Next, they took part in a game of trivia, where the questions tested their knowledge of their peers, before having another Elevate study session. Ms. Pritchard and Ms. Hutton shared their advice with the Year 12s before the students wrote letters to their future selves, post-Year 12.
The College Captains gave a final address to their peers to end the Step-Up program, reiterating the key messages and tips they had picked up over the two days, such as ‘finding what works for you’.
On the question of the most beneficial part of the Step-Up program, Hugo stated that he “took so much out of the study-tips; the weekly planner, knowing how to use resources, different study techniques, finding what works for you.” “I now have a weekly planner with designated time for study that lets me still be very social and allows me to play basketball on a Monday night, while still fitting in ample, flexible study hours during the week.”
Eric chose “when the Year 12s from last year came in and told us about how they tackled Year 12 and their study habits.” As well as the focus on their VCE study, both students noted a different social atmosphere at the beginning of their final year of school. Eric referred to there being “more togetherness”, and Hugo to “an instant boost in camaraderie amongst the year level.”
Our Class of 2019 is now back at school and well-equipped to tackle this monumental year, and we wish them all the best.