Year 12 student, Annie Claxton, was looking forward to studying at BSSC, but coming from a P-10 college of just 300 pupils, her first impression was ‘wow it’s BIG’!

These days she believes the best word to describe BSSC is ‘exciting’ and names diversity as one of BSSC’s ‘super powers’.

“There are so many opportunities and the chance to experience something new almost every day,” she says.

One of the things she loves about BSSC’s diversity is that college life is not just about ATARs.

“I feel like BSSC takes a long view of education,” she says. “While it challenges us academically, the college is also preparing us for our next step and opening our minds to more than just the information needed to pass an exam—though that’s important too!”

Annie hopes her classmates will remember her as lighthearted, but caring, and is aware how she has also benefitted from the caring of others.

“Support and encouragement from the college, and especially my teachers, has made me more passionate about taking opportunities to give something back,” she says.

For Annie, her role as Secretary of the Student Leadership Team (SLT) is one such opportunity.

“I see myself as being a conduit for great ideas and working to bring them to fruition,” she says.

Annie would like to see more clubs running at the college—including those supporting students with a religious faith. She’s also hoping a Formal will be able to run later in the year.

The SLT continues to be concerned about social justice and inclusion.

“I think we are becoming more and more aware of the needs of the LGBTI community, the importance of Justice for Women and the Black Lives Matter movements,” Annie says.

“Students’ values are influenced by the experiences they have at school. I think SLT plays a role with this because anything that makes a student thrive also has the capacity to enrich the wider community.”

Human rights concerns also have a historical echo for Annie. She would love to be able to hear the stories of some of her Jewish ancestors who died in the horrors of the Holocaust.

Annie particularly relishes the mutually respectful relationships BSSC students enjoy with their teachers.

“Nadege, my French teacher, always makes time to ensure we all feel supported and cared for,” Annie says. “She’s also a great French teacher!”

Annie hopes her future will be very French too. She hopes to study there once the world opens up again—which may go some way to appeasing her disappointment at missing out on a French exchange last year due to COVID.

In the meantime, Annie acknowledges the positive change she has observed in herself during her time at BSSC—and is still sometimes surprised at what she can achieve when she pushes herself.

She is proud of this growth, but aware that much credit is due to the excellent support she has had from family, friends and teachers.

“I used to be one of those students who just cruised along, but I’ve learnt to be much more independent,” she says. “I’ve proved to myself the difference extra effort can make.”

At her previous school—Creek Street Christian College—Annie decided in Year 10 to challenge herself to be dux. This forced her to get more organised and develop better time management skills. While she missed out on being dux, she brought all those skills to VCE.

“I think minimising procrastination and getting rid of distractions is the first step,” she says. “And getting set work done as soon as I get it has been really important for me.”

Annie is studying English Literature, English Language, French, Further Maths and Photography.

She has also managed to keep some part-time work happening and is involved in other passions—one of which emerged when she was very small.

Her parents noticed that she was always dancing. Always. Even in the supermarket.

She began dance classes at age four and these days, after more than 13 years, she is teaching young ballet students. She also continues to dance and sing in local musical theatre productions with Tribe Youth Theatre.

“Dance, especially contemporary dance, is an exploration of emotions and about being fully immersed in the moment,” Annie says.

“When I dance, I ignore everything else and pay full attention to what I’m feeling and how I’m moving—which is so important because my intellect likes to run the show.”

In truth, Annie just feels very glad to be here. An IVF child, she says her parents were very fortunate to have a child at all.

“Mum told me one day they had always wanted a little girl named Annie,” she recalls. “For a long time it seemed that was never going to happen for them.”

So what advice would Annie like to send back through time if she could encourage her 12-year-old self?

“Throw yourself into every opportunity—even if they seem too big or too scary. You’ll look back and see they weren’t such a big deal—and you’ll grow in courage and learn that you can trust yourself.”