There is always excitement in welcoming students onto the campus for the first day of the academic year, but this year was particularly special. There was joy in knowing that, despite Omicron and the ongoing adjustments required in this phase of the pandemic, we would be able to come together onsite as a community of over 900 students and, in doing so, welcome our 80 new students to Carey and our 317 Year 10 students to the Senior School.
This year, our foci as a whole school are the themes of Collaboration and Respect. We will also continue to focus on and support our students’ individual and collective academic and social/emotional wellbeing, by relentlessly building on a student and staff community and culture which are underpinned by respect, care and kindness. Our Year 12 Leaders paved the way for this work by determining that their vision for the year is:
‘To be courageous and create a culture where through inclusivity, connections will thrive. We will lead with integrity and respect, and through this we will support the collective wellbeing of our school.’
Our 300 Year 12 students have embraced these ideas through their work as a cohort during our inaugural Year 12 Connections Day. Students were challenged both to determine their own personal vision and to work as a team to begin to build a sense of their year level’s legacy.
We have also seen our Year 11 students settle well into their VCE and IB programs, taking the lessons of 2020 and 2021 in their stride as they step up into their final phase of school.
And our Year 10 students have begun their year with a three-day Induction Program led by our newly appointed Year 10 Co-ordinator, Ms Demi Voulgaris. We are delighted to welcome the much loved ‘Ms V’ into her new role and she and I sat down together to discuss her focus for Year 10 in 2022.
Kellie: What have you enjoyed the most about working with Year 10, our Year 12 class of 2025?
Demi: This year has started with time to reflect and connect on what is an exciting transition to Senior School. The Year 10s have already proven themselves to be collaborative, kind and respectful individuals so I am incredibly excited to watch them come together as a cohort and establish their identity throughout the year.
Kellie: What will be the main focus of your work with Year 10 this year?
Demi: In the past two years, the students have managed the peaks and troughs of a global pandemic and therefore our goal is firmly to strengthen their connections to one another, their sense of identity, and ultimately guide them as they navigate their final years of schooling. We have also worked hard to welcome them into a positive learning culture, one where their goals, passions and interests are nurtured and encouraged. To achieve this, we also aim to establish clear expectations and avenues for support for all of our Year 10s so that they can reach their full potential.
Kellie: If you could share something with your Year 10 self, what would it be?
Demi: I would encourage her to find the unexpected joys and try all experiences offered to her at school. I was always a little insecure in my abilities as a student and, as I reflect, I think I would have had more courage if I had been given the gentle encouragement to try my best, even if I didn’t always succeed. Sometimes, immersing yourself in things that are new can allow you to find moments of unexpected joy and this is a lesson I now cherish.
Head of Senior School
Feature image: A Year 10 collaboration with one leaf representing each student. On every leaf, the students have written what they would like their purpose or legacy to be at Senior School.