Happy 2017! The fireworks over Sydney Harbour last night were great.
2016 has drawn to a close, so with this in mind, I have taken the time again (as I blogged in 2014 and again in 2015) to look back on some highlights of my past year.
My school St Vincent’s College has a yearly production, and this year we performed “Grease the Musical”. I love being in the school play and have been part of it every year since I started at the school. I was part of the supporting cast, and rehearsals time was substantial. It was 5 hours a week and lasted throughout the first term of school. Being part of a real production is a sensational experience: the rehearsals, the costume, backstage preparation, the pre-performance butterflies and the thrill of performing under those blinding lights.
Rostrum Voice of Youth is an Australian public speaking competition I entered at the beginning of the year. It is an opportunity that encourages students to develop their public speaking skills. I wrote and delivered a speech about environmental issues. I called it “Our Largest Threat” and I really believe that this is a critical issue for our planet that we must solve. Unfortunately, this is a topic that is almost never spoken about but is creating a knock-on effect starting most of the issues we hear about in the news. For example, pollution, natural resource depletion, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. So what is this abominable, earth destroying problem? Overpopulation. The road forward is not an easy one. I don’t know the solution, but growing up in a world where this is such a huge problem and knowing this isn’t on the top of our global “to-do list” is petrifying. I explain more in my video.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is available to 14–25-year-olds where participants are required to complete four sections (service, skill, physical recreation and adventurous journey) to three levels (bronze, then silver and then gold). This year I completed bronze and I am now at silver. I found it a great opportunity to extend myself into trying some new things.
The “adventurous journey” section was certainly a new experience. For that, I did a demanding two-day hike, twice this year. We trudged through the bush land with hot, thick heat smothering us, carrying packs that seemed to increase in weight as the day drew on. When night came we set up tents, cooked our own dinner and battled the arctic temperature that left us shivering in our sleeping bags (6 degrees – ok so maybe not that arctic… 😉). It was a refreshing experience that definitely made me come to appreciate my own bed!
I created a community blog for my school house called Aikenhead and it is now used to share information, awards, and photos from events. It was a very rewarding experience and I will continue the blog next year.
Debating is a passion of mine and I just love it! The way the debating competition is setup is that your team receives the topic and then have just one hour to prepare your arguments. It is stressful but I love the preparation, learning current affairs, the in-depth political conversations with my friends and the challenge of working as a team, arguing and speaking with little preparation. This year our team did very well and made it to the semi-finals – something that is a record for our school!
My debating team this year when we won at Loreto Kirribilli: Pippi Cullinan, Ciara Snelling, Eve Cogan, Molly Dixon, Isobel Spies and Amelia Kamp. (Missing Veronica Wong)
My debating team at the semi-finals against St Catherine’s: Amelia Kamp, Eve Cogan, Veronica Wong and Pippi Cullinan.
Another speaking competition I entered was the AHIGS Festival of Speech. I wrote a speech about new technologies. I wrote this after I started learning about virtual reality devices like Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens, Samsung Oculus and Facebook’s new Virtual Reality device. These new technologies make up the augmented and virtual reality industries. Augmented reality means integrating the digital world with your reality and virtual reality means creating a new reality.
This year I chose to do accelerated maths. At the end of last year, I was given the option do year 9 and 10 maths in one year, in order to sit my HSC (similar to SAT) maths exam a year earlier. It was a big decision as I was told it would be very difficult, it would require double the amount of time I spent on maths for the year and I likely wouldn’t do as well in my exams as if I did it over two years. I ended up opting to say “yes” to accelerated maths as I felt I could handle it. I have had a look back on my decision and here are my thoughts:
The accelerated maths course was a rewarding challenge. For the first six months I was sorry I had chosen to do it, but now after it is over, I am glad I took up the option. I was warned it would take double the amount of study, I personally felt it was closer to triple, however I had friends who I know did less study than me and did just as well. The maths course was difficult as the speed requires you to go home and consolidate what you learned after every lesson – or risk having a gap in your knowledge and not understanding the next chapter. There were six assessment tasks and it took me the first two until I fully realized how much study time the exams needed. I didn’t do that well in the first two, but after I began frequent revision of old topics, my results became really quite good. In retrospect, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I should do accelerated maths or not. I am glad I did it but I feel that I could have done equally as well at the normal speed.
Near the end of the year I was happy to receive a role has “House Officer” at my school. This role is offered as an opportunity for students not in year 12 to help lead and organize their house team. I was honored to get this role and hope I do well in it next year.
I enjoyed the work I produced in my art class. Art is one of my two electives the other one is drama. I really enjoyed art and here are some highlights from the year.
Print making. This was my carved piece and then it was printed like a reverse stamp.
Still life work done in charcoal.
Still life work done in paint.
It is also probably worth a mention I spent three months living in the city. For someone who usually lives near the beach, that was a totally different way of living. My sister wrote more on that here