Ori­en­ta­tion week at high school a win­ner

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee

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.

Schools are in­vited to con­tact us with news: email editor@mt­druitt­stan­dard.com.au

Pic­tures: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

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.

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