If there is a HSC success story that deserves mention, it’s this one.
After hearing mutters from outside the gates that there wasn’t much point in tackling HSC exams, teachers from Dunlea Centre (Australia’s Original Boys’ Town) took it upon themselves to prove them wrong.
And boy, did they ever.
Not only was this year the first time students from the Engadine school attempted the HSC, the results revealed a little self-belief can go a long way. There weren’t any 99.95 ATARs or multiple competitive university offers, but there was effort, potential reached and soaring confidence levels.
Dunlea Centre’s mission is to empower at-risk teenagers at change their lives and restore family relationships through therapy and education. Coming from a place of disadvantage, the students gave teachers reason to strive for academic change. Three students made the honour roll, receiving strong results in maths, with three Band 6s and one Band 5.
MATHS TEACHER LAUREN BEAUFILS SAID EVERYONE WAS THRILLED.
“In previous years people said to us maybe it’s not for our type of students, but we have a lot of confidence in them,” she said.
“We just went for it, despite what others outside of the centre thought. We back our students and we thought they could do it, and we were right.”
The school taught a collapsed curriculum, with students studying Year 11 and 12 in one year, with three subjects across the year.
“It means we can really focus on intense learning and it really benefits our students,” Ms Beaufils said.
“We tailor our program to the group. We only have a small class size of about 12, so we could really cater to their strengths. For this group we thought they could do maths because they were quite good. We only had four in the class.”
For the students, it’s an achievement some may have thought was beyond their abilities, but now they want to keep going.
“A lot of our students haven’t succeeded very well in mainstream setting, so they have come to Dunlea, and succeeded,” Ms Beaufils said. “Previously they thought it wasn’t on the cards.”
“Two of them are looking at studying primary teaching at university, another is looking at social work and another student on the honour roll is looking at social work at TAFE.”
She said the group also encouraged younger students.
“From where they’ve come from to now, it’s unbelievable what they have achieved,” Ms Beaufils said.
“Especially for students enrolling in Dunlea now and seeing this first group do so well. They are inspired and think ‘if they can do it, we can too’.”
See the article on page 4 of The Leader here.