Co-Captain’s Welcome

Co-Captains Welcome

Elwood College has stood as a symbol of hope, happiness, comfort, safety and resilience since the very day I stepped foot out the door in my hideous t-bar leather shoes and unhemmed dress down to my calves.

Having grown up in a Swedish primary education system from 2010 to December 2017, a year before I began my journey here at Elwood, I have grown to love the elements of school. Embracing the core values of integrity and respect. Learning to love forming new bonds with students and teachers and deepening my appreciation for the rich tapestry of global cultures. And that has identifiably come from my experience in high school. At this special high school. 

Something I will always hold dear to my heart, and preach to whoever happens to catch me in a mood for a rant, is the importance of having a well rounded and positive relationship with the ones that guide us through every step of the way, our teachers. The ones who provide their wisdom, time, knowledge and pure humanity in making sure our high school experience remains a positive memory. I promise I have a leg to stand on here, because I’ve happened to be raised by two teachers, who have shaped me into charging at the world with waves of compassion in an ocean of empathy. In which I truly have been able to, simultaneously, express and be met with at Elwood College. With this experience, I have been able to confidently approach my teachers when I’m confused, want to discuss something I found interesting or just if I’m simply having a bad day. They’ve listened, processed, heard and gently but insightfully responded to whatever I need to say in the most consistent manner I’ve seen a group of co-workers do. I mean I work in hospitality, so that might speak for itself and my experience with harmonious relationships. Nevertheless, a special handful of my teachers and coordinators I have had over the years have all left an indelible mark on who I am and how I will perceive the world as I leave Elwood at the end of the year. And my gratitude simply cannot extend further than it already does to them all and it's truly one of the many gifts of this school. 

Beyond academics, Elwood places a strong emphasis on personal development and holistic well-being. From a fantastic wellbeing team who provide comprehensive counselling, to a wide range of extracurricular activities, students are encouraged to explore their interests, develop their talents, and cultivate a healthy work-life balance. I’ve found that the school recognises that a student's ability to excel in their studies is closely tied to their overall well-being, and thus, offers a comprehensive range of resources and programs to support students' mental and emotional health. I myself completed a couple VCE subjects one year early, beginning in year 10 and finishing in year 11 and it was pretty daunting. I struggled to wrap my head around the amount of work I had to do with the immense shadow of ‘pressure’ lurking over me. Luckily, I was able to speak to a member of the remarkable wellbeing team and figure out all the ways to remove all the surface distractions and focus on no one else but myself in a room when I’m sitting a SAC or an assignment. Keeping up a personalised routine for my brain to remain calm, I was able to massively improve my grades and not only were my amazing supportive friends super stoked for me, but I was just so elated that talking to someone and actually working out strategies to better myself in my own routines to ultimately reach a goal I set was just so satisfying. Rewarding. Something that I think teenagers these days struggle with. Feeling assured about themselves, and I really think Elwood has mastered the balance of humility and self assurance, and its ever growing nature, among its students. - Annika Scott

I represent Elwood because I believe in its community, and as part of this community, I love this school.

As Elwood's slogan suggests, the school is a place of growth. Elwood enables me, and all students to work upon ourselves with the utmost support and guidance, as we eventually come together as an evolved community. A major factor in my growth within school was the emphasis on mental health over scores. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that Elwood has truly cracked this code. They demonstrate their understanding that ultimately a student will thrive academically due to thriving mentally with unwavering dedication to this cause.

From the moment I stepped into Elwood I’ve admired, and adored the Student-Teacher dynamic. Both parties are perceived equally, and tearing down that strict hierarchy has enabled me to reach out time and time again, where I know I otherwise wouldn’t have felt comfortable. Elwood isn’t the physical buildings but the community within its walls, and the incredible staff  are what make this school.

As for my experiences within Elwood, I must admit my middle school years were by far some of my favourites. I’m continually impressed and moved by Elwood's confidence in its students to find their own path, and their belief that passion is what drives education. I will never forget how jealous my parents and inter-school friends were when I told them I was taking creative writing, history of horror, zoology and drama at 14 years old. Subject selections are one of Elwood’s best assets and truly aided me in exploring fields and careers that intrigued me, setting me up for the future.

In more recent years, I was provided the opportunity to take a fast tracked VCE subject in year 10, leading me to undertake VCE drama with the year above. This truly highlighted the inviting nature of the school as the class supported and included me within the tight knit group. We honestly developed our own family, I always felt as though I could breathe lighter in that class, even as exams approached. Academically, drama provided a range of creative opportunities with immense self-driven nature in performances entirely constructed and performed by the student, which undeniably stretched my creative understanding and abilities. My drama teacher and class then pushed me to audition for the school musical, which I’m eternally grateful for, as it created some of my favourite memories. Seussical the Musical heavily promoted interconnectivity amongst the students across all year levels. We dedicated ourselves to the collaborative effort, creating our own  sense of community, and highlighting the variety of talents possessed by students.

I truly cannot emphasise the strength of the arts within Elwood College enough.

Battle of the bands and talent night are by far some of my favourite events of the year, the whole community comes together to celebrate individual achievements in the form of upbeat musical performances, and I just can’t help but look forward to them each year. Unfortunately this is my last year attending these events, I’m really not looking forward to my time in attendance coming to an end.

What I’ve learned, and love most, about Elwood, is that if you allow it, the school will nurture you and qualities others would tear down. If you talk too much in class, like me, they’ll give you a stage, and let you speak. - Heidi Stayner

Annika Scott & Heidi Stayner
Elwood College Co-Captains 2024

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