If Alex Short could go back and have a friendly word in the ear of his 12-year-old self, he would say “You only live once. Spend the time doing what you really want to do—don’t just try to please others. Oh, and don’t stop piano lessons… you’re going to regret that!”

Alex is now in Year 12 and mid-last-year took up piano again.

“I want to try out new things and I find making music is really helpful when I’m stressed out,” he says. “I also play soccer for Spring Gully, which I really love—except when you kick the winning goal and the umpire tells you you’re off-side!”

Alex is enjoying his time at BSSC.

“I really like this place,” he says. “Because BSSC is such a big school, there’s so much choice. I’ve been able to do everything I want to. And visually it’s pretty cool having a school next to (what was once) a jail!”

This year Alex is a member of Student Council and, although he says he is “mostly sitting in the background,” he is part of the committee that has set up wellbeing opportunities such as the Tai Chi and Yoga sessions that run at lunchtimes.

“I wasn’t involved in Student Council at all last year, but decided to find out what goes on,” he says. “I really like the way the students involved want to improve the school. And it’s good to get my opinions out there.”

Once VCE is done, the future plan is to become an oncology nurse—or perhaps a biology teacher.

“My Dad has been having treatment for cancer for the past two years,” Alex says. “The experience has really opened my eyes to how this disease impacts on entire families… how life can completely change in a moment.

“I have learnt that you can make plans… you just have to take things as they come. For example, we own Café Istanbul and my mum has been running the business when Dad is not well. One positive thing is that I get to see my Dad a whole lot more, which I really like.

“He and I get on really well and have a similar sense of humour. He loves joking around and making people laugh. We both like English humour—Dad has shown me all the Monty Python movies. They’re so great!”

When it comes to the world more broadly, Alex is appalled by the lack of compassion for people in war-torn countries.

“They are suffering so much and we just seem to be sitting here,” he says. “If we were in their shoes what would we want?”

In light of this, it’s not surprising that Alex admires people who are making a difference to the lives of others.

“Especially people who do stuff without expecting to make any money out of it,” he says. “Jamie Oliver is one example—teaching how important it is to make good eating choices.

“I’m also impressed by people who start with nothing and are told they are not going to get anywhere, but end up being successful—and that success is not just about money.”