BSSC Year 12 student, Amy Wrigglesworth says deciding to study VCE at this college is one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“I love the way the college embraces student individuality and supports the diverse groups in the college—there really is something for everyone—and the canteen is pretty good too!

“Doing well at BSSC is about attitude. That’s foundational,” she says. “But it’s great going to a school where they focus as much on your wellbeing as your academic progress.”

Amy is one of those self-motivated people who take full responsibility for themselves and are fiercely independent. This has seen her through all kinds of challenges.

However, like all qualities, there is a flip-side. But more about that later.

Earlier this semester Amy participated in BSSC’s inaugural Speech Night.

“I’m always nervous when I have to speak in class, or more publicly,” she says. “But I’ve learn a lot from my Mum who’s an important role model and really good public speaker.

Although unable to attend the speech night, Amy’s mum had encouraged Amy to get involved—always believing Amy could win it—and she was right!

An Award for Excellence in Persuasive Oration was on offer and the attending adjudicator said he had an incredibly hard job, given the outstanding quality of all the presentations.

Unable to find a point of difference between Amy and fellow-student, Anna Winter, the decision was made for the two students to share the prize.

“It was a big shock to be a winner,” Amy says.

Amy’s oration addressed the issue of women being able to freely breastfeed wherever they are.

“I think when you’re keen to get a message across, and speaking about things you are passionate about, it makes a difference to how you present.”

However, the night—and the award—meant much more on a personal level.

“Even deciding to participate was part of a wider academic comeback,” Amy recalls.

Amy’s mental health was badly affected by the pandemic lockdowns. Although she found the lack of collaborative learning and loss of contact with her friends terrible, she kept insisting she had ‘thrived’ with online learning.

The reality was somewhat different.

“I didn’t want to be the one with the mental health problems—I hate to be pitied and felt if I admitted I was struggling I would be like a black sheep in a white flock.

“As I know now, the one thing you don’t want to look at is the one thing you probably need to.”

In the end it was Amy’s friends who called her out and contacted people equipped to help her.

“Now I’m so glad they did,” she says. “At the time I was so righteous about my independence and it took so much courage to admit I needed help and ask for it.”

Amy also had to come clean with her family about just how hard she had been struggling.

She was soon connected with professional guidance both within BSSC and outside the college.

“BSSC’s Wellbeing’s mental health practitioner, Jacqui Gill, was just wonderful,” she says. “I’m so grateful to be at a school with such an experienced Wellbeing Team.

“I began to hear my truth and the more I spoke about things, the more I realised things about myself. It was an incredible experience.

“I’m proud of my recovery. It was such a big thing to go through, but the mental transformation has been remarkable—although I didn’t just wake up feeling better one day.

“My recovery was a marathon and I was initially unconscious a rejuvenation was happening—but soon I began to see little signs I was getting better.

“I noticed I was more motivated at school. I contributed in class a bit more. I rebuilt relationships I had neglected. It wasn’t such a burden to turn up for my part-time job.”

Perhaps best of all, Amy began to sense her own value again.

Fast-forward to Speech Night where Amy truly put herself out there—and had the delight of taking home an award.

“It was like a rubber stamp. I was back on track.”

Part of being back on track for Amy also involves working hard to ensure she has the best chance of enrolling in RMIT’s Social Work degree.

“I was initially planning to study Law, but I have become so much more socially aware through my Legal Studies and Global Politics subjects regarding issues we should all be concerned about.

“My experiences make me want to give back to the community and I can see this course will help me do that.”

Amy describes Naomi Flint as the class’s ‘Legal Studies mother’ and says Naomi has created a non-judgemental, non-filtered, engaging and trusting vibe in the classroom.

Asked for a hot study tip, Amy says “get organised”.

“Being organised and planning things out really works for me,” she says “But I’d also say, ‘don’t force yourself’ because there’s no point going over something if your mindset is not focused.

“I also think it’s vital to know what gets you into the zone and utilise it.

As Amy moves towards the end of Year 12, she’s finding delight in things that de-stress her—such as her beloved cats and dogs and the music of Taylor Swift and others.

Taylor Swift, Amy believes, is the best example of perseverance—and someone she would dearly love to talk with.

Amy is also grateful for the ongoing support of her family and friends, and this college. And, although he can be quite annoying at times, she is very grateful for her cat too!

“But if I could go back and give myself some advice,” Amy says, “I would tell myself: ‘the world is not relying on you to do everything. Take time for yourself’.

“I’m still working on that,” she says with a smile.