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Listen to the podcast of the St James College, Brisbane Open Day presentation.
Open Day presentation transcript.
Ann Rebgetz: Thank you for coming to St James’ open day. And I want to acknowledge our indigenous dance troupe, and also acknowledge the Toorbul and Jagera people on whose land we stand today. I’d also like to acknowledge that our flags are flying at half-mast today in honour of our past Prime Minister, Mr Bob Hawke, who sadly passed away last night. So, we remember the times of his leadership, and also his support of indigenous and first nation people of our country. So, what I’d like to do now is just to talk a little bit about the school, but the main people who will be doing the talking is some of our students.
Ann Rebgetz: So, we’ve just heard from our dance troupe, and not many schools do have an indigenous dance troupe, so we’re very lucky to have Aunty Theresa here, who is a traditional landowner herself, and able provide that support to have a dance troupe. And in fact, our dance troupe is asked to go to other schools to perform, so that really is wonderful. So, we really welcome indigenous students into our college. So, my next step is to introduce some of our student ambassadors, so I’ll ask them all to come forward. Mr Wiseman if they could all come down. And as you can see, our college is a very multicultural community, this is a great advantage. During the week, I met with a person who leads the Global Learning Centre in Brisbane, and really, if you read any of the latest educational research reports, you’ll see how important it is to be a global learner because as we know, our economy now is across the world, it’s not just in Australia.
Ann Rebgetz: So, if you’re working for any company… in fact, there’s a member of our college board her name… who is one of the Rio Tinto, HR people, and she said they look for the qualities in people: number one, can they work across the world? So, we say when you come to St James, you can make friendships with the world because you can see there’s a huge number of nationalities in our students here. Just introducing myself, my name is Ann Rebgetz, I’m the principal of St James. I’ve only been here this year, so I’m delighted to be here and privileged to be here. Prior to being principal here, I was principal for 10 years at St Columban’s College, Caboolture and prior to that principle of a P-12 School in the Northern Territory of 730 indigenous students at Wadeye.
Ann Rebgetz: So, after many years of principalship, the reason I applied for the position here, and was delighted to win the position was because of this, dealing and working with a global community because I think it is the way of the future. So, I’m going to hand over to Mariam first because Mariam is our college captain along with Paul. Paul I think he’s busy practising … Oh, he is there, come through Paul. I was just thinking you were up there dancing again with the African dance troupe. It is our cultural concert tonight. If you want to see a concert of all nations come along this evening, it’s only $5 to get in. And you will see all of these students perform, they’ve been practising for weeks. And I am delighted because I’ve never been before either, but we’re in for a treat this evening. So, I’ll hand it over to them. They’re just going to say a few words each, and pass the microphone down, so you could hear some of the stories, and why they think St James is a school to consider for your son or daughter or grandchild or friend. Over to you Mariam.
Mariam: Okay, so Miss. My name is Mariam. I’ve been at St James college since grade eight, so this is my first high school. Before St James, I went to state school in Mardsen. My mum chose St James College because all my brothers have come here. But before coming here, I was a shy person. When I first started here, I’ve met a teacher named Miss Whelan, she was a bit loud. For my first couple of months here, I wasn’t really interested in socialising, I just wanted to be here from eight to three, I just wanted to learn and then go home and full stop. But now, looking at myself from when I was in grade eight to now, I’ve been involved in so many [inaudible 00:05:04]. I’m now college Captain which, I would have never expected myself to be here because getting up on stage and talking to people wasn’t something that I was very confident or did not want to do at all.
Mariam: Thank you. Here at St James now I have many friends since our school only has like 400 students, so you get to know everyone pretty well and pretty quickly. All the teachers here are really laid back and chilled, so it’s not very strict all the time during lunchtime and stuff, you can have a nice conversation with a teacher, and not worry about getting a detention afterwards. So yeah, that’s my… Oh, I’m South Sudanese, I came here when I was two years old. I was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. I only stayed there for like six months, and then coming here I was young, so, yeah, I don’t remember much there, so Australia’s been the only home that I know, since I was little. Thank you. When I finish high school, I’m hoping to get into paramedicine, so then I can study to be a paramedic. After paramedicine, I do want to explore the doctoral side of medicine to be a doctor. That’s me.
Paul Paul: Hello, everybody. My name is Paul Paul. Welcome to St James College. I came first to St James only last year, but before that, I was originally in Melbourne, I did primary school over there at Sacred Heart Primary School. And me, I’m from South Sudan, which is near Egypt in the northern side of Africa. Me and my mother and my brother we grew up in a very hard place because there was a civil war there, so it wasn’t safe for us to stay there because we’re very young. My father was… he was a doctor at the war, so he would cure like, soldiers that were wounded and stuff like that, so he wasn’t really with us that long. So then, me my mother and my brother, she took us to Egypt. So, she thought it was much safer there, but when we got there was a bit safer, but the Egyptians didn’t really like Sudanese like that. They would be racist because the colour of our skin and stuff like that, they weren’t really inclusive and stuff. So, my mother wanted to find a better life for us, she didn’t want her son… for us to grow up in an area like that.
Paul Paul: So, we flew to Australia, we got the opportunity as refugees to come to Australia, we we’re very grateful. We came to Brisbane first, and went to Melbourne, and we came here. And then in future, I wanted to become a doctor, so I can go back to my country and help all the people that are sick there because I believe everybody has the right to be healthy, and when everyone’s healthy, they can do what they want in life, they can achieve what they want in life as well. Something I like about St James is that it’s an inclusive community, they include everybody and give everybody different opportunities that they never had before, you know? And it’s very happy to be here. Thank you.
Efon: Hi, my name’s Efon, I’m the Mary Rice house captain. So, I went to St Mark’s in Inala as primary, and I came to St James only last year like Paul. So, I was born in Egypt, but my story is much like Paul’s. My dad basically had to do labour work in Sudan just to finish his schooling, and my mum had to drop out of school when she was in grade five because she was a girl and she had a male brother. And my mum didn’t want that to be the life for us, and my dad didn’t want us to suffer and do slave work just to get an education, so they decided to move to Egypt, which is where I was born, but I am South Sudanese. And I’m from Egypt, just like Paul, they didn’t treat us right, they believe black is the colour of slaves, so they treated us really wrong.
Efon: And from there, my parents decided to take a humanitarian visa to Australia, and that was in 2002. So, I was born in 2002, and I came here in 2002. So, I’ve been here for 17 years of my life, so Australia is the only home that I actually know. And when I’m older, I want to become a midwife. And just like Paul, go back home and help my people because a lot of the times we lose children over little things that can be helped with the proper education that we don’t have there, that we can get here and help them back home. And what I love about St James is, we’re so diverse and different. There’s so many different things to cater to everyone. You don’t just have to do OP or ATAR to get into uni, there’s so many different courses like Certificate III’s and IV’s, that our school Captain did that: secured her job, got her an income, and will take her to uni. So, no matter where you are in life, or where you are academically, there’s something for everyone here. Thank you.
Irene: Good morning. My name’s Irene. And just like the other two said here, life wasn’t really good back in South Sudan, so, I came here when I was like, around six, so this is basically the only home I know. I’m basically Ugandan and South Sudanese. One thing I like about St James, is an inclusive, diverse community, it welcomes all doesn’t matter where you’re from. And the education, we have a great learning environment here. Then, what I want to become when I finish school is a lawyer. The primary school I went to before coming to St James, Kruger State School back in Ipswich. I remember, my brothers and sisters going here. I really didn’t want to come here first, so my mum practically convinced me to come here and attend, and I loved it. And yeah, will be really good for you to bring your kids here because St James is a wonderful school.
Gabe: Hey guys, my name’s Gabe. For those who don’t know me, I’ve been running one of the tour groups today. I was born in the beautiful city of Canberra. I’m sure we all know where that is. I went to Brisbane at the age of two when my family decided that work was better up here. And I went to St Oliver Plunkett Primary School, which was one of the few primary schools that I went to, but that was where I spent the predominant amount of my time. St James, like every other school, offers classes: four lessons a day we offer here. But I feel St James, over the time that I’ve been here, has taught me a lesson that no other school could ever provide: has taught me a lesson of people, a lesson of culture, a lesson that I do not feel that any other school in Brisbane could have ever taught me.
Gabe: It is a lesson that is… whilst all of the other four lessons we have a day, it’s operated throughout them. It’s been there teaching me who I truly am and what I truly can be. It’s taught me who my friends are, and this is the lesson that St James will end up providing I hope. My friend’s group consists of people of many nationalities: I’ve got a friend from Lebanon, and we’ve got two friends from India that all sit down in the same group that I sit with. And the lesson that they’ve taught me, is inclusivity. They’ve taught me how to respect other cultures, and how to see the differences that other cultures have, and how to use that to advance myself, and that is what global learning is all about at St James college. It’s a lesson that, whilst we teach the other ones, it’s still in the background, and it is the true lesson that St James teaches. Thank you.
Marshall: Hi, my name is Marshall. And I’m one of the Long House Captain, and I’m been here since 2017, and started out in grade 10. When I first started here, I feel like I share the same situation as Mariam, the college captain, that I didn’t feel like… socialising was never a part of my… it’s not my thing. But as time goes by, teachers and all of the friends here, they all welcome you. And, yeah, I started to build within me, and I started to having more confident, and I’ve no longer just sit back and let other people do the work. I want to jump out and participate with them, and say like, let’s build something together instead of just sit back and watch.
Marshall: And also, one thing that St James has taught me that… other than all the lessons, and I’ve also learned many things like different cultures difference, as I never thought, about religions, other than academic subjects, and, yeah. Back in my school, I was in a British International School back in Vietnam, it was a very competitive environment, like is more tense than at school here, and I just find it very stressful, and I feel like I might drop out. But my mum decided to let me have an experience of oversea, like studying oversea. And that’s my story of coming here to Australia, and been in love with Australia ever since, I’m love with St James College. And one things that I’ve failed many times back in schools, like in terms of education and other physical education as well, especially physical education, was saying, like, “You’re not good at this stuff, you’re not worth to be part of the team.”
Marshall: But here at St James is a different stories because no matter you fail, or you didn’t succeed, they welcome you back to the team and say, “Hey, let’s try again together, but through step by step, we’ll get there.” And that’s Jimmy’s for you. And when I finished schools, I’m planning to go to the QUT and the IT special schools, so I can take part of the Cisco Dream Team in America. And hopefully, I’ll see some of the faces here we see today, next year at St James. Thank you.
Ndonde: My name is Ndonde. My parents died when I was nine along with my other five sisters and brothers, so that’s how I became a refugee. I went to Malawi and stayed there, and then I went to South Africa and stayed there, so I flew from South Africa to here. Before my parents died, they wanted us to have a good education, but they never got a chance to give us that education. So in Australia, when I came here, Australia is like a new home for me with peace. Some of us never experienced peace, like at this time, some of us would be hiding in the house because there was war going on every second, it never stopped, but here I can sleep peacefully for hours, but see I have to come to school. So, when I came here, I went to Milperra and to Indooroopilly. My parents wanted me, my new parents, wanted me to learn at Indooroopilly, but I never liked the school. Because first of all, they don’t have uniform, so I thought the whole point of studying, I really want a school that has a uniform.
Ndonde: Yeah, that’s when I met this girl here, this one. She was wearing a St James uniform, so every day I would ask her, “What school do you go to? Because I usually see you looking really good, I really want to come to that school.” And she gave me all the details, so I went to my mum and started crying, I said, “Oh, I really want to go to the school.” And my mum, she came here and enrolled us here. I started here in year nine, 2016. Since then, I’ve been having a really great time here. I would say this school is the best for me because I never feel like I belong somewhere else than here. This is actually my family. The teachers here are great. I was very lucky enough to meet Mr Wiseman, he’s our deputy principal. He’s like my dad, I call him my dad, but he doesn’t know.
Ndonde: Mr Wiseman has my back, I have his back, but sometimes I took his job sometimes, and he let me do that. There was this day that he asked me what I wanted to do in life when I finish Year 12, and when I told him that I wanted to be a businesswoman when I study hard, hopefully, and he told me that I’ll be very good, because I’m very bossy, but in a good way, in a good way. I don’t intimidate people, but it’s just what I do, like sometimes you got to be bossy. Yeah, so what I want to do when I finish high school is, if I’ll get money or a scholarship, I might go to uni and study Bachelor of International Business, because I really want to travel. I want to travel everywhere and explore new cultures, yeah. So, one thing I like about St James is, is the best for sports, basketball here… If your child likes basketball, this is a great place like, this is number one place that your child should be attending.
Ndonde: Sports programme here, we are like the best, I can lie because I don’t lie. Honestly, myself I wasn’t that talented to do sports, but most of people here do basketball, they already travel Melbourne, Sydney just to play basketball. And one of our students last year went to America, and now she got a scholarship to United States? Yeah, to study there and do basketball: she really loved basketball. But she wasn’t that great in subjects and stuff, but basketball kept her like really good. And then, now she can study and do basketball at the same time, which is very lucky. You don’t get that every day. So yeah, I think, I’ve said much.
Sam: Hi. my name is Sam, I’m from Congo. My story’s not… it’s like compared to Ndonde’s story. My mum would pretend like there’s nothing wrong going on in the country, but we know there’s some war and stuff. One thing I like about St James is, I feel like St James has given me an opportunity to become myself and do something great. When I finish school in Year 12, I want to uni and study politics, So, yeah. Thanks.
Dominika: Hi, everyone. Welcome again to St James college. My name is Dominika. And I came to St James in 2016, Term II. And I’ve been in Australia for four years turning 5 years this year. And my story is similar to Ndonde. So, I came from Uganda, and me living Uganda, we’ve been living in a refugee camp as well. And seeing people being killed like literally seeing by our eyes, and at night time we couldn’t sleep. Every time hearing guns, you can’t even eat or anything like that, even scared to go toilet. We could always… It’s not funny man. Oh, and also we always had to sleep under the bed because every time you can hear guns just going… and all that. And from there, my mom couldn’t really handle it anymore because she wanted a better life for us, she wanted us to education and become what we want to do in the future so that we can help her and other family as well.
Dominika: And then she had a plan, we don’t know how she did it, but then one day, she was like, “Oh, we’re going to go to a place called Australia.” Because Africa no one knows Australia, in Africa, people just know America, America, so we don’t know what Australia is. So, one day she’s like, “Oh, we’re having an interview to go to Australia.” So, we had that, and then from there it worked out, and then we came to Australia. I couldn’t speak English because I didn’t go to school at all. I could only say hi and my name and that’s it. And then when I came, they took me to a school where Ndonde went to, Milperra as well. We all met there, and then we studied Milperra. We had to learn English. And then I went to Indooroopilly with her as well. And then from there, I left her in Indooroopilly, and then my mum brought me to St James, because my cousins used to come to St James. And then my Aunty told us that, oh, St James is really a good school, so we should go try St James.
Dominika: So, when I came to St James, I was really shy and not confident enough, and I was like, “How am I really going to be talking to these people if I can’t really speak English properly?” And everyone is there, you know, speaking English saying, “What’s good? What’s good? You know. And I’m just like, “Okay, you got to try hard.” And I will always go home, do my schoolwork, I was like, I really want to do better, and I want to become a better person in the future, so that I can able to help people back home, who really need our help as well, because there’s a lot that need to be done back home.
Dominika: So. I started learning, and yeah, St James made me someone that… I never knew I could become like this, you know, being a House Captain, leading people, being a good example to others, it’s something that I never thought I could be, but St James really made me a better person. And I’m really proud that, St James really made me who I am today. And something I love about St James is that, they give really so much opportunities to people, even though we don’t really neglect people of who you are, what your faith is, your traditions or anything like that. We invite people from every culture, traditions, you’re welcome. You treat everyone with respect because everyone have the right to be treated with respect and all that. So yeah, and, I think, that’s all. Am I missing something?
Dominika: Oh, yeah, one more thing. One more thing, yeah. So, when I graduate… so my career is… because I’ve always wanted to do this, because me seeing my people struggling back home, need to help. Because my grandfather died last year from, sickness and all that, I don’t know what it’s called. But me seeing all my family struggling with sickness, I’m just like, I needed to do something, to be able to help them and improve their lives, and to show them that they have someone who is really good at something. So, when I graduate I want to study to become a practitioner nurse and hopefully, I will do that.
Natasha: Hey, guys, and welcome. My name is Natasha, and I’m from Malawi. I came here in Australia in 2013. I used to go to a school called St Mary’s in Ipswich. And this is my first year at St James. I’ll say St James is a very great school. When I went to the old girls school, like it was really awkward for me because I’m not used to being surrounded by a lot of girls, so when I came here, I felt really comfortable. I’m very like hyped person, and this school is like very hyped, everybody had a lot of energy. And me being here was like, “Oh, damn. I can vibe with everybody.” And that was really good for me. And… What do I have say?
Dominika: What you’re going to do when you graduate.
Natasha: Oh, yeah. When I finished school, I want to be an sergeant, so I can go back home and help my family and my dad, and everything, and yeah.
Ethan: Good morning everyone. So, before I came to St James, I went to West End Collage, West End State School, sorry. And I was bullied a lot, and when I came to St James, that changed completely: everyone respected each other, the sense of community was a lot better, because it was a small school, everyone knew each other. If you had done something like bullying to another person, you’d probably not get respected. I’m not great at speaking, so I’m not going to talk too long. The sense of community really helped me become more extroverted than what I used to be. I used to be afraid to socialise, to talk to new people, but now I’m a lot more capable of talking to new people. I also used to be too afraid to talk to shop clerks, but now come on, it’s talking to someone. When I graduate, I want to be, I don’t know, maybe a software engineer, yeah. Thank you.
Holly: Hi, everyone, my name’s Holly. I came to St James last year. And when I came it was very welcoming. And you made friends pretty quickly because everyone just comes up to you because you’re brand new, and you’re like, “Oh, hi, hi.” And you’re, “Oh, Okay.” But yeah, so it’s very welcoming, and teachers are very helpful at the school, so if anything happens, you just go to a teacher and they’re willing to help, and will help no matter what. What are the other questions? I already forgot. When I leave school, I didn’t even know what I want to do. My mum will probably ship me over to Perth to be honest this year, for a whole year, I’d be like, “Wow.” That’s about it.
Julian: Hey, guys, my name is Julian. So, I came to St James in Year 8. The reason I chose St James was because firstly, I have a couple of learning difficulties, like a lot of other students here, and when I found out that St James had the support, and like… I’m not exactly sure how to explain this. But just the amount of support St James gives, like the teachers and the small classrooms and all that, just really helped me get through the year. And also you guys really helped me, because I’m just creating the new friendships and stuff. When I first came to St James, I was pretty shy, I was like… I didn’t really know a lot of people and stuff. And when I got into Year 11 and 12, I started to build a lot of friendships and it just got really good. And then now here we are, last year, trying to get through, yeah. And then when I finish school, hopefully I want to become a pilot, so travel the world. And yeah, that’s about it. So, thank you.
Jonathan: Hi everyone. My name is Jonathan, and I’ve been in St James since grade eight. Before I came to St James, I went New Farm State School, primary school. The reason that my parents both chose St James, even though they’re split up, is because they think it will be easier for me to get more… fit in. But when I first came here, I was really shy. I thought no one would even like me at first, but now I just got along with everyone, yeah. So, what I want to do when I finish school is, I want to work for BMW and Mini cars, so yeah, yeah. So, yeah thanks.
Gibson: Hi, my name’s Gibson. I’ve been at St James since grade seven. Despite being taller than these guys, I am younger than them, I’m only 14. St James is an inclusive community. It’s one of… Being as a small co-ed school in the inner city, it’s an amazing little tight knit community, where everyone knows everyone and you all join together, for example, I knew Jonathan from New Farm State School, I also went there. And it was similar at New Farm, but then you come to St James, it’s just absolutely amazing to be together with people from all different grades. In our home rooms, we have grade seven to 12, and you get to know everyone, there isn’t a person that I could walk past, and I would say, “Oh, I haven’t met that person yet.” Unless, of course, they’ve been here for one or two days.
Gibson: And it’s great. It’s a small… it’s a melting pot, as well. Has a melting pot of ideas and cultures. You learn things that no other school in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia will ever understand. And it’s just great to be here. And one of the things that I’d like to do when I grow up and go through university, I’d like to become an architect and help design our city. And it would be very great to do that with the help of St James. Thank you.
Daniel: Hi, my name’s Daniel. I’ve been in St James since grade seven. I came to Australia in 2006. Just like Efon, Mariam and Paul and Irene, I’m from South Sudanese. I lived in Egypt, but it wasn’t a good area, so my mum decided come to Australia to pursue a better life for me and my sister. St James is a wonderful school, I wouldn’t go anywhere else, just perfect. And when I graduate, I’d like to become a doctor, so I can go back to my country and help innocent casualty of the war. And thank you.
Ann Rebgetz: Well, everyone, I think, these students have done a tremendous job. I didn’t know how many they were going to be, and also they weren’t scripted. So, what an extraordinary witness to their expression, and their sense of community and inclusivity from what they said. So, it made me feel very moved and proud to be here. And I’m sure as people coming in to have a look at the school, whether you decide this is the school for you, for your son or daughter or not, it’s been a marvellous journey to hear their stories today, and their very moving stories. So, thank you so much. Thank you, you can sit down now.
Ann Rebgetz: Just in terms of the college, obviously, we have a vision, we talked about culture. Leadership is very much working as a team. Learning and teaching, as you could hear from the students, is at the centre of the needs of the students. And as you also heard from the students, that they’re very aspirational in many areas. So, we try to get that aspiration, their dream to become a reality. In terms of the students, and the college and its facilities, you’ve seen that today, and, of course, everything will just develop and grow in that way. And our industry links, as one of the students said, we are so well placed in the city that enables us to form partnerships, and to facilitate school based traineeships for our students, and that’s certainly a growth area, and we’ve been talking to many people. Health is obviously a huge area of growth. But where we’re situated, whether it’s technology, hospitality, tourism, we’re in the centre of where it’s happening, and the potential is amazing.
Ann Rebgetz: So, who are we? A Catholic, Co-educational Secondary College, 151 years old. It’s actually started off as a boys school, and it’s the oldest Catholic Boys School in Queensland. And you can see these pictures up here, that was the original school and the original uniforms. We’re an Edmund Rice Education Australia school. Edmund Rice is a national organisation and the headquarters of that is in Melbourne. That brings us into a national network and a global network. So, we look at… That has implications for us on many levels.
Ann Rebgetz: Multicultural, multilingual: The number of languages spoken. Many of our students speak three or four languages. And that, kind of, rubs off as a norm in terms of other students. The students mentioned they’re in a vertical homeroom in terms of pastoral care, we’re very strong on making sure that the well-being of students is number one. We have an intervention culture, we have a strong learning enhancement centre, a very strong vocational programme, we believe that academic and vocational go hand in hand. So, as we said before, in terms of international students, we actually have international students as well as refugees. And Marshall, who spoke from Vietnam, is an example of an international student. We have probably about 60 international students, most of whom are from China.
Ann Rebgetz: In terms of our fees here, we call it affordable excellence. In terms of the fees in total this year, they’re 6,900, that includes everything. If you’re comparing it to a State High School, in our programme, there’s a one-to-one laptop programme, that’s included, all of the excursions are included. So, in terms of that, it probably costs about 1500 to 2000 to educate a student in a government school, if they’re providing a laptop et cetera, plus the excursion money you pay out every week, so it’s not a very big differentiation of that. If there are families who are not able to afford that fee, we look at their circumstances, and certainly take that into account. Our Edmund Rice ethos is to support families who aren’t as financially well off as others. In that case, at the moment, we’re the school in Brisbane that has the largest number of asylum seekers. We have 20 students who have just come off Nauru.
Ann Rebgetz: And I mentioned that, particularly because those students are very aspirational. They want to do well, but many of them could not attend school in Nauru because the conditions in Nauru was so horrific. They are still in community detention, and that’s a difficulty. And our school really reaches out because when we enrolled those students, and I enrolled most of those students at the beginning of the year, I thought I would get, from the federal government, the same amount of money as other students. I discovered in the last four weeks that any of them who’d turned 18, which is very common for students in year 12, that we don’t get the funding from the government, the government gives no funding for 18 year old asylum seekers.
Ann Rebgetz: I mention that because, you know, it’s not a… I’ve gone to the Minister for Education, I’ve gone everywhere I could go to get the answer on this one. Luckily, we have an organisation that is very supportive of educating those students, that’s Edmund Rice Education Australia. But it is absolutely criminal, what the current government is doing in not supporting our refugees that are coming from Nauru. All of these families has been classified as refugees. So I’m sorry, I have to be political, because one of the things about Edmund Rice, is having a voice and speaking out, and that’s what we encourage our students to do is to be advocates, and speak out where they see injustices.
Ann Rebgetz: Our touchstones are solidarity and justice, gospel spirituality, inclusivity, and education is liberation and liberated education. And liberation as you know, means freedom, so if we’re going to give people freedom, we need to get these asylum seekers out of detention. They’re in our own backyards being treated in detention. So, just in terms of the school, we like to think we live the Justice values that we preach, and that’s a really good example of the organisation and the college supporting those students.
Ann Rebgetz: Actually, we were just talking about that affordable excellence. In terms of the choices that you have here in the number of subjects, and the number of certificates we offer, is a very huge range. As we said, we’re not a huge school, but we still have an incredible variety of subjects. So, that really gives our students a step up, and we’re also able to cater for the range of students. We have immersion programmes, we have scholarships and bursaries for students in terms of their backgrounds, and sometimes that takes the form of concessions. And as we said, we’ve got the facilities. Educating students for a world yet to be imagined. I put this slide up, because that’s actually from the latest research and, I guess, promotions from the Federal Government, in terms of what they’re saying that schools should be doing.
Ann Rebgetz: So, they’re actually talking about the importance of this across all schools in the country. And in our school, we’re very, very conscious of that: What is the world yet to be imagined? What are the skills, and it’s very much changed the skills. We know we can Google content on anything, but we can’t Google skills, we have to learn skills. So, the problem solving skills, literacy, numeracy, you know, all being digitally skilled, being able to work in a team, having good people skills, that came across strongly from our students, are all foundation skills that are absolutely essential. These documents here, all talk about the importance of the society, an enterprise culture and entrepreneurial culture. We live in an age of Uber, Airbnb, all of that is about enterprise culture, and the platforms of organisations and employment changing. All of our students need to be able to make money from what they can produce and problem solve.
Ann Rebgetz: So, you may have seen students down in our industrial tech, making some little games that they’ll be able to sell, or it might be a breadboard that can be able to sell. So, the concept of having your own business, being able to go to the markets, somehow, maybe even busking, you know, whatever it is using your skill to earn an income. In terms of the reports, these are some of the reports like crunching the numbers is the Mitchell report. The Mitchell report is one of the latest government reports, which actually talks about the number of students in universities throughout Australia. You may not be aware that only 25% of all students in Australian universities actually get there through an ATAR or an OP. 75% of students in universities did not come through an OP or an ATAR system. That’s not to say that an ATAR or an OP is not very important, but there are many, many pathways, and that’s what people often forget.
Ann Rebgetz: If you do a Certificate III, and you complete that, that is a pathway to get into a university, because that converts to a tertiary rank. So, we have very skilled careers advisors, and looking at those partnerships, so that… whether it’s in an apprenticeship. And think of the skills, if you perhaps… when you’ve been down to industrial tech, you’ll see the motor car that the students are making in Cert II Engineering. If you want to be an engineer, and you can actually make that car, and you go for a job because you’ve got the Certificate II in Engineering which says you’ve done that, do you think you’re going to be ahead of the university student who hasn’t done anything like that, might have done their engineering, but has no hands on skills? So, if you’re Rio Tinto, who are you going to employ? You’re going to employ the one who has the hands on skills. And that’s what we try and do here, be very strategic smart, give our students the opportunity, so that they have the opportunity to be very competitive and strategic in the marketplace.
Ann Rebgetz: So, that’s just a graph of where the needs are in terms of our labour market, so we actually look at that closely to say, where should we be steering our students in terms of their preferences? Obviously, health is a huge growth area, education a growth area, personal services, technology in Queensland, obviously, tourism and hospitality. So, we look at that to say, where are we going? And technology buildings, as we can see all around us. So, this is just a bit of a summary. We have 10 industry areas, we have lots of school based trainees and apprentices, that opportunities for our students. In terms of those areas, the training areas would be around health, fitness, business, hospitality, engineering, creative industries, so a really good cross section of areas.
Ann Rebgetz: These are the areas of skills, which are the defining factors. Last couple of weeks, we actually advertised for a teacher aide position here. I was quite shocked, because we actually got about seventy applications for those positions, and most of the applications were people with university degrees, for a teacher aid. So, that’s actually proving the point of people… That’s really good for us, because the people that we can employ a very well qualified, but in terms of the economy, it’s showing that there are many people out there with university degrees, who may not have jobs in areas of choice, and so, they’re looking for jobs that they can explore while they develop their areas of choice. So, foundation skills and employability skills. Very important to be problem solving, show initiative, be able to get up and talk like those students, to be the tour guides. Planning, organising, self-management, and technology, all of these skills, on top of those foundation skills, are very, very important. So, we look at taking the students from where we are. We’re introducing a new writing programme next term, called Write That Essay, which is a very extensive writing programme. But just to get them capable, really as capable as we can in the foundation skills, so the employability skills are equally valued.
Ann Rebgetz: So, the core subjects. Because we’re Catholic school, we do do religious education. You can see there, Music, Geography, French, Phys Ed, History, English, Maths, Science, Design, Living Technologies, Visual Art, Hospitality, IT. But if we see there’s a need between now and next year we may change some of those as well. The year 9 and 10 curriculum, gives you some electives, so there’s more choice. And at the moment it’s IT, Hospitality, Outdoor Education, Art, Accounting and Law, Digital Technologies. Year 11 and 12 subjects, as they are there: English, Maths, RE, Visual Arts and Practise, they are the subjects that are probably not… they are the more vocational subjects, the general subjects that would count for an ATAR, I’ll explain that in a minute because it’s a new system. But see we have English, English is a second language, Maths, Maths Methods, Specialised Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Study of Religion, Modern History, Accounting, Visual Arts, Legal Studies, and other subjects we can also provide, linking them.
Ann Rebgetz: And they’re all our range of certificates, including Sport Coaching, Outdoor Education, Fitness. And we’re looking at introducing the Compass Certificate, which is one about ministry and outreach. So, the ATAR is the new system, so currently, year 12 students are in the OP system. We’re going to the ATAR system, and the next years, year 12 will be doing an ATAR, on an ATAR pathway, or what we call the new QCE, which is the Queensland Certificate of Education. So, you don’t have to do ATAR, but it is a pathway to university, but not the pathway, because as I said, there’s lots of pathways. And in the new ATAR, you can actually include a Certificate III subject as part of the calculation of the ATAR. So, that’s just explaining things in itself, but we’re very oriented towards that.
Ann Rebgetz: So, for an ATAR, you can either have five general subjects or four general subjects plus an applied subject or Cert III or higher. So, it is different to the old OP system in that way. Some of you will be across that. So, our house system here which is very strong. It’s approximately 100 to 120 per house. House Dean’s for each house, homeroom teachers, vertical home rooms, and our house leaders whom you listened to this morning. We have a pastoral team led by the Deputy Principal in student services. We have a Director of Well-being, Isikeli, who greeted you at the gate. And, I think, Mr Wiseman’s up there, the Deputy Principal, saying hello to everyone. Miss Dolejs is she there? Assistant Principal. Oh, and I can see my daughter Louisa and granddaughter Molly there too, welcome. They had not seen the school before, I said best day to come is Open Day. Molly might be getting enrolled Louisa is that right?
Ann Rebgetz: And sport, we, as we heard, very strong in sport, particularly, basketball, but also soccer, rugby league, netball. We won the AFL Grand Final, the girls team in AFL very excited about that. And Rugby Union, athletics, swimming. On the outside, we’ve got three projects, that’s why we’ve got the raffles there they’re trying to raise money. And we’re a polling booth tomorrow, so we’re hoping to make lots of money through the democratic sausage, through the democratic cake, through the democratic bake sale, and democratic raffle. So, please encourage people to come along and vote here. So, we’ve got three projects going, one is the Global World Scholars, so we had a team of 12 students, or the three teams, I think, that competed at Churchie over the Easter break, got to the next rounds, which is in Sydney, so we’ve got those 12 students going down to Sydney to compete.
Ann Rebgetz: So, we’ve also got two teams in Confraternity Rugby League, and the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball, which is on at the same time in Bundaberg, so we’re financing… kids are raising money to go there. And also, we’ve got an Indigenous Immersion Programme going to Darwin, and the Tiwi Islands, so we’re raising money for that. So, we want to provide all those opportunities, and so, it is a very vibrant culture as some of the students spoke about. And tonight, is the big Cultural Night, as we said, so that’s going to be music all night, dancing all night, different cultures. I think, I heard someone practising the Haka, would that be right, Mr Wiseman?
Wiseman: Well, and truly.
Ann Rebgetz: Well, and truly. So, if you are a New Zealander, you are welcome to come along. So, on the counselling side, Dr Shannon O’Gorman leads our well-being team in that area. She wasn’t able to be here today, but she’s extremely capable, and talented in the area of family therapy and anger management, group therapy, trauma-informed practise, school refusal. So, in terms of that, her knowledge of interventions and how to support families is very strong. Her background’s actually a social working background, but we have a team of people then that she leads under her in terms of supporting the well-being of our students. So, that’s very important, because it’s well documented in education, two things that are crucial to outcomes: high expectations, so if we have a bottom line based culture that actually doesn’t expect kids to achieve very highly, they won’t achieve highly.
Ann Rebgetz: But the other crucial factor is the relationship. So you know yourself, if you have someone that doesn’t think that you’re very good at what you do, or you don’t have a good relationship, it’s very hard to do your best as a student. So, we really work hard to make sure the relationships are good, so that we can get the best out of our students. And with that, as I said, we have a lot of learning intervention, so that if there’s a learning problem in some area, we try to minimise that problem and maximise the strengths of the students so we get the outcomes. So, what are we doing? We’ve got some taster days, three sessions at the school that will be running. We’re starting that… some days are coming up, Isikeli is running that. Term three and four, and we have a orientation day on November 29, that’s today. And also, we’ve got some sporting carnivals that we’d be looking at later in the year.