Congratulations to our 2018 St Francis Xavier College DUX, Brooke O’Brien, who was a former student of our Officer Campus. Brooke sat her first VCE subject in Year 10 when she completed VCE Japanese and went on to achieve an outstanding ATAR score of 99.25!
I asked Brooke how she remained focused throughout her three-year VCE program and the key people in her life that provided support and direction. Brooke’s teachers have given her the gift of a set of lenses through which she can see the goodness and positive qualities that reside in her and in others.
It is a gift that will never stop giving. Brooke’s education here at St Francis Xavier College will have a substantial impact on her life’s trajectory. Brooke shares her learnings and plans for the future below:
Important achievements require a clear focus, all-out effort and a bottomless trunk full of strategies. Your commitment to learning and ability to focus is outstanding. Explain how you managed this throughout your VCE studies.?
One of the most crucial things that I believe impacted my level of commitment throughout VCE was the fact that I always chose subjects that I really enjoyed. Personally, I find it very difficult to focus on and put effort into something that doesn’t interest me. VCE is a challenge for everybody, regardless of the specific pathway that you choose, but remaining dedicated and determined throughout these difficult years is made much easier when one is passionate about what they are studying. Spreading out my subjects over several years also had an immense impact on my experience of VCE, allowing me to put more time and energy into each individual subject. This prevented any excessive stress or anxiety in my final years and gave me the opportunity to enjoy my studies without feeling overwhelmed at any point. I think it is important for students to understand that they can, to some extent, tailor their VCE in a way that will benefit them. My VCE pathway was quite unique, in terms of both structure and subjects, and I think this was one of the main reasons why I was able to achieve a high score in Year 12 and thoroughly enjoy my final years of secondary school at the same time.?
As a community, we are focused on enabling our students to do what they do best and to succeed at school. Every member of our community possesses a variety of character strengths, giving each person a unique character profile. How would you describe your character strengths??
I think that one of the key aspects of my character which helped me a lot through secondary school was my ability to deal with stressful situations. While I have certainly always aimed to be successful in school, I never let my desire for academic achievement create unnecessary worry or anxiety. I think some students definitely reach a point where they are too consumed by the score that they receive on a test or exam, to the point where it affects their enjoyment of life. There were a lot of times throughout my time at SFX when I got back a SAC, exam, or even a study score that I was not at all happy with. However, I was always able to move on from that disappointment and keep in mind that one bad result, or even ten bad results over a number of years, was not going to have a definitive impact on my future. Sometimes caring too much about one’s numerical results can be just as detrimental as not caring at all.?
What was your biggest learning through your final year??
The biggest thing that I learned throughout Year 12 and in the last few months was how important it is to appreciate the time that you have at school. While it may not seem like the most exciting or enjoyable time in your life, particularly when you are going through the challenges of VCE, your final years of school really are the last opportunity that you get to live out your day-to-day life in a comfortable environment, surrounded by familiar people and friends. A lot of students, myself included, only learn to appreciate the stability and normality of their schooling life after they have graduated. So, I would encourage other students not to get too caught up in the struggles of their final year, nor let themselves be consumed by the desire for academic success. I think that it is just as important to enjoy and make the most of your final year as it is to do well academically.
What comes to mind when you think about how your life will look like in 5 – 10 years from now??
While I don’t have any definitive plans for the distant future, I am excited to see where the next stage of my education leads me. I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, with tentative intentions to complete a Juris Doctor at the end of my undergraduate degree. I am not really one to make long-term plans as I have a tendency to change my mind very frequently. However, my decisions have generally always been guided by interest and enjoyment rather than ambition, and will no doubt continue to be so in the future.
How has faith in yourself inspired you to push forward with your ideas and aspirations??
I think that it is extremely important to have faith in your own decisions and instincts. I got given a lot of advice throughout my schooling life, and I now believe that one of the most important skills one can develop is the ability to determine which advice is better not followed. While the people around us, family, friends and teachers, may have our best interests at heart when offering guidance, it is sometimes better to follow one’s own instincts and feelings. Accepting help and advice from those who are wiser and more experienced can be of undeniable benefit at times, but trusting one’s own intuition and deciding what you want in your own life is also a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success.
Tell me about the key relationships in your life that hold meaning and how these have guided you.
I had a lot of support and guidance from family, friends and teachers throughout my VCE. My close relationship with my parents ensured that I always had, and still have, a strong and encouraging support system at home. My family were never too preoccupied with grades or academic success and enforced a good level of balance throughout my schooling life. I also had a very close relationship with my school friends. Your friends are often one of your greatest sources of support in VCE because, at the end of the day, they are the ones experiencing all of the challenges alongside you and can relate to the positive and negative aspects of Year 12 better than anyone else. I also found it extremely helpful to develop good relationships with my teachers. Being able to appreciate the time and effort that your teachers put into helping you and making your education easier is a definite key to success in secondary school.?
What are your parting words/suggestions for students at St Francis Xavier College – Officer Campus?
I would advise students at the Officer Campus to enjoy and make use of the next few years. My time at the junior campus included some of the best years of my schooling life, when I was able to develop new skills which helped me immensely in my later years, as well as create friendships with people which remain intact today. I hope that Officer students can appreciate the value of education without being unhealthily preoccupied with academic results or stressing about the future. I wish all students the best of luck for the coming years and hope that you find your time at St Francis Xavier to be just as memorable as mine was!
Recently, Charlotte O’Sullivan (Year 9) got to explore the Air Show on a trade day (when the general public was not admitted). During this visit, Charlotte was invited up into the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster Aircraft. Charlotte chatted with the pilot, Lachlan and got the bird’s eye view of the surrounding airfields and military aircraft. Later, Charlotte worked closely with the team at JAR Aerospace who showed her how to build one of the new PYGMY drones that will be provided to all cadets in Victoria. Charlotte spent several hours learning to fly the drone the new PYGMY drone and demonstrated this new skill to school groups and the public over the weekend. The strength of Charlotte’s professional manner was recognised when she was later presented with the gift of an Australian Air Force Cadets’ drone. Congratulations, Charlotte.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship or even a pet. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be. Children and adults grieve differently due to their developmental stage, and this can prove difficult for parents to understand.
Young children fluctuate in and out of the stages of grief rapidly, as they may not comprehend the permanency death. They express their grief more physically. Teens on the other hand may not know how to express their grief and will need some space to process their loss. Some may choose to grieve alone, not wanting to stand out or be seen as not coping. Whilst others, who may have a greater understanding, can start to question their own mortality.
In this edition of SchoolTV, parents can learn how to acknowledge their child’s feelings and the best way to support them through the grief. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this month’s edition and we always welcome your feedback.
If you have any concerns about your child, please contact the school counsellor for further information.
Here is the link to this month’s edition https://sfx.vic.schooltv.me/newsletter/grief-loss
The Positive Behaviour Team come together once a fortnight to discuss the implementation of the School Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework (SWPBS). This framework is a proactive approach to establishing a positive culture within our school through the promotion of our school wide expectations:
We want students to feel safe and secure in an environment where they know exactly what is expected of them and when. We want our students to be given the best opportunity to be successful learners and considerate members of the wider College community. This year our team will be focusing on establishing universal routines and practices throughout the College that support our school wide expectations.
This article links to the Positive Learning Partnerships and highlights the importance of putting relationship quality at the center of education, “Students Learn from People They Love.” Click here to read the article.
On Tuesday evening we welcomed approximately 250 people to Officer Campus to tour the Campus before the Year 7 2020 information session. The tours were conducted by our Year 9 student leaders who were outstanding ambassadors for the College. I would like to extend my thanks to the Year 9 student leaders for promoting the creative, academic and sporting endeavors of our College.