Year 12 student, Dooley Every, relishes the satisfaction that comes with pursuing what he truly enjoys. But he’s also a realist.

“You can work really hard, but you can’t control everything,” he acknowledges. “It’s important not to get down about the things you can’t change.”

No doubt that includes being full of enthusiasm and great ideas after securing the role of SLT President, only to find he had to navigate the restrictions and limitations of a pandemic… but more about this later…

Dooley arrived at BSSC from Girton Grammar in 2019, attracted by the breadth of subjects, specialty teachers and extra-curricular opportunities.

“It was a bit of a culture shock,” he admits, “but it’s really worked for me. Not just the academic opportunities, but also the freedom and the friendliness of everyone.

“I particularly like the way study periods are set up. I found a favourite spot in the Language Centre near the heater which was perfect for me during the winter.”

His Hot Study Tip is for everyone to find such a place.

“Hide,” he says. “Keep your head down and do your work where you can fully concentrate.”

Dooley’s energy is palpable. He enjoys working hard and draws a huge amount of pleasure from his studies.

“The teachers here create an atmosphere that really enriches the learning experience for students,” he says. “All my teachers have been so encouraging and I can see how invested and passionate they are about their subjects.”

Asked to name a favourite subject, Dooley says he only chose what he loves.

“I’m doing six subjects and although it’s getting a bit stressful as we approach exams, I’ve had incredible fun,” he says.

He is particularly enjoying VET Interactive Digital Media.

“I think the atmosphere in class and Jamie’s (Le Rossignol) interest in your project is fantastic,” Dooley says. “I’ve heard past students talk about how much they enjoyed his classes.”

Dooley has made wonderful friends at BSSC and has discovered the benefits of group learning… until Covid-19 had everyone running for cover.

It’s his friends he missed the most as he continued his studies from home, expanding his understanding in Legal Studies, Media, Vis Comm, VET Interactive Digital Media, Global Politics and English Literature.

He’s also missed the “great stuff” that usually helps to make Year 12 at BSSC so incredibly memorable.

“My glass is still half-full,” he insists. “We need to take coronavirus seriously and I used the extra alone time to focus deeply on a folio project.”

Able to step outside his regular timetable, Dooley sometimes did a week’s work in one go. The lockdown also gave him the opportunity to better prepare for tests and SACs.

He’s also had some good luck along the way. Required to produce a short film in first semester, Dooley decided to dive in and get it done—unaware of the complications of the lockdown to come. He completed filming just one week before the first lockdown.

Dooley also knows the importance of taking breaks. He loves an early morning run and keeps to a fitness program. He’s also a keen reader of biographies and enjoys writing.

Then there are times he can be found watching films like ‘The Fast and The Furious’, which he describes as “comfort food”.

Despite his forays into action movies, Dooley admits he’s not a well-informed film buff—something his friends find quite amusing as he’s hoping to become a filmmaker and would love to get into Swinburne’s highly-respected film course next year.

This course’s popularity makes it very competitive and Swinburne asks for a higher ATAR than most media courses.

Dooley also takes great interest in Australian politics and wonders if his path might one day lead in this direction.

“Paul Keating particularly fascinates me,” he says. “He dropped out of school at 14, though he’s obviously incredibly intelligent and it amazes me how well he did despite a serious lack of education.”

But Dooley says he’s annoyed by many of our current politicians for their lack of action on Climate Change—a critical issue he fears will end up “on the backburner”. He’s also concerned about the general economic trajectory of Australia.

“While we might only be a small country, Global Warming is an issue that will not go away and will bring huge economic consequences,” he says.

He cites the 5.1 billion dollars earmarked to fix issues related to last year’s bushfires, but points out that serious impacts from Climate Change are predicted to be ongoing and will be an inevitable drain on the economy.

When asked who he thinks is changing the world for the better, it’s not surprising to hear him name world leaders who share his concerns. But he also has a hero closer to home.

“I want to give a big shout out to my mum,” he says. “I’m so grateful to her.”

On the global stage, Angela Merkel is someone Dooley greatly admires.

“She is a key figure in Europe’s response to global warming, but is determined—after witnessing the impacts of recent devastating nuclear disasters—that nuclear power is not the way forward for Germany,” he explains. “This is despite the fact she has a doctorate in quantum chemistry.

“She has also taken a huge amount of criticism for allowing refugees into Germany and the EU.”

It’s this unwavering commitment to what she thinks is morally right, no matter the political cost, that Dooley finds inspiring.

It’s a character trait he also admires in his fellow students, and he cites last year’s SLT President, Alyssa Lai, as an example.

“She was such a polite and encouraging leader,” Dooley says, “and she’s been so supportive of me.”

Last year, before ‘pandemic’ was a part of our daily vocabulary, Dooley was a keen member of the team led by Alyssa. Under her guidance he got involved, honed his leadership skills, and felt confident this year to nominate for President himself.

Like the rest of the SLT, his mind was buzzing with possibilities for myriad activities and initiatives he hoped SLT would run during 2020.

“The year started so positively,” Dooley remembers. “We wanted to make the college a really inclusive place for students who had become disengaged, and run activities that everyone would want to get involved with.”

Then the implications of the pandemic began to hit home.

“The Formal stayed on the drawing board for a long time before the second wave of COVID made it impossible and we were forced to give up most of what we had planned for third and fourth terms.

“We reshaped our whole role,” Dooley says. “Suddenly we were making reusable masks (thanks Michelle Schober!). We were having our meetings via Zoom and realising that a less formal approach to our plans worked best.”

Despite everything, Dooley believes the SLT maintained a positive culture and adapted to an unprecedented situation, which was extremely satisfying for everyone.

“I feel like I’ve not only built on my leadership skills, but also my personal skills,” he says. “Small, achievable goals are important when there’s so much uncertainty.”