Orientation week at high school a winner
THE first day of school is often filled with tears and tantrums, but for the students at St Marys Senior High School they couldn’t be happier.
For the first time, the school began its first week with a university-style “OWeek”, or orientation week.
It saw Year 12 students set up stalls and advertise groups for the new Year 11 students to join.
From the science stall to the Harry Potter club and the Amnesty International group, there was something for everyone to get involved in. Principal Kris Beazley said the school operated in a university structure as opposed to a traditional school format.
“We run the place like a university – the students call us by our first names, we don’t have uniforms and we encourage independent learning by treating the students as adults,” Mrs Beazley said.
“Students are allowed to leave the premises during free periods but we still have amazing attendance rates. The kids choose to stay at school to work in the library.”
School captain Brishty Regmi said the adult learn- ing environment was what drew her to the school.
“We are in charge of our own learning here, which I love,” Miss Regmi said.
“We are able to be very independent here.
“The school spirit is so high – it is a great environment and everyone who is here really wants to be here.”
Mrs Beazley said the adult learning structure had been very successful.
“Over 90 per cent of last year’s HSC students were offered first round offers to university,” she said.
“We have a great relationship with all the universities in Sydney, who often prefer our students as they are already prepared for university life.
“This year’s O-week model gives all kids – not just the SRC and captains – leadership opportunities before heading into university.”
St Marys Senior High School admits students from all over Sydney, and currently sees students come from the Blue Mountains, the Hawkesbury and even the Sutherland Shire to attend.
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St Marys Senior High science teacher Rosemary Spears encourages Year 12 students Sheran Kumar and Samantha Cook to enter a science competition.
The chess club stall at the O-Week event.