There’s nothing like a barbecued sausage or a vegie burger on an overcast day to lift the spirits. BSSC students certainly agree, with a big crowd turning out for Monday’s Blast Off welcome barbecue.
The queue stretched right around the Ulumbarra Plaza but no one left hungry. Thanks to all the staff who planned, prepared, cooked and served. There was a great vibe in the plaza.

At Wednesday’s Blast Off activities The Mechanical Bull, Meltdown and the Horizontal Bungee challenged BSSC students to the edge of balance and strength as they pitted themselves against ‘The Zone’ games.

Year 11 student, Draven Cowie-Turner, voted the mechanical bull “definitely the best”, after managing to stay on its impossibly slippery saddle for 76 seconds. This seemingly innocuous ‘bull’ was relentless in tipping off all-comers.

Katie Wilson, also in Year 11, agreed. “It’s nothing like riding a horse, but still fantastic fun,” she said.

Meanwhile, teeth-gritting pairs battled the unforgiving Horizontal Bungee, while the deviously-designed ‘Meltdown’, with its perpetual ‘duck and jump’ requirement, defeated all but the most balanced.

Free stuff is always a hit. The BSSC Wellbeing Team, Bendigo Community Health, Headspace, Anglicare and Bendigo Health combined great information with giveaways such as pens, balloons, water bottles, show bags and food. Platters of watermelon and boxes of snacks disappeared quickly. However eating the ‘donut on a string’, run by Anglicare, required considerable effort—to the amusement of all watching.

More seriously, messages about diet, tobacco and other drugs, mental health wellbeing and a range of supportive programs and opportunities were available to students.

“Headspace now offers General Practice services, free and no referral required,” said Ben from Headspace Bendigo. There are also doctors specifically focussed on mental health and a food bank with a variety of healthy foods available throughout the week.”

Blast Off Week wrapped up with more lunchtime activities on Friday, including Safe Archery from The Zone and free icy-poles to help everyone cool off in the 40-degree heat.