Year 12 student, Duggan Calderwood, moved from the Mornington Peninsula to attend BSSC so he could have the flexibility to combine the VCAL and VCE subjects he wanted to study.

“I want to become an electrician so my pathway is through VET integrated technologies and my favourite subject is maths methods,” Duggan said. “I didn’t always like maths, but I’ve come to realise how important it is for my future.

“The teachers here have been so positive. They are so open and approachable and really care, which has made the transition to a new school so much easier.”

Student Council has given Duggan the opportunity to make some new friends, get to know the school, and more about Bendigo in general.

“I have made a few friends through classes, but Student Council has been really important—and everyone is so committed to things I value as well,” he said. “I’ve also discovered that there are really close connections between the Student Council, teachers and the wider student body—a real bridge to have student voice heard.”

Duggan is currently working with the events planning team and is enjoying the responsibility. He’s also decided to get involved in the LGBTI community.

“I’ve got friends who are part of this community and the lunchtime gathering the college ran recently was great,” he said. “And to see Headspace there, and all the other student supporters who came along, was really great. The message was clear: like it or not, it’s not okay to discriminate or bully people for any reason”.

Duggan is also hoping to be involved in the Anzac Day ceremony in Term Two.

“My family has a military history; my grandfather, William Calderwood, served with the field ambulance and the entire division was taken prisoner and interned in the notorious Changi prison in Singapore. He was there for four years and basically the field ambulance officers became the prison medics. He survived and came home in 1946, not dying until his early 80s.

“I’ve marched in the Melbourne Anzac Day parade a couple of times with other family remnants of that field ambulance division.”

Asked what else he is concerned about, Duggan didn’t have to think for long.

“Democracy is something I think people sometimes take for granted—they seem to forget that they are the voice. Student Council is a way of practicing democracy, and students need to know that our role is to implement what they want. They are part of this school’s democratic processes as well as the wider Australian system.”

But there is a lot more to Duggan. He loves music, plays bass in a band called ‘Raven’, and collects vinyl. He’s been involved in the RACV Energy Breakthrough, and cycles to school each day (though he’s not impressed by Bendigo drivers). He’s curious about Bitcoin and wishes he’d convinced his family to jump onboard early. He dislikes people who abuse their power or the use the system for personal gain.

“Elon Musk is someone I think is changing the world,” Duggan said. “People say he’s just doing it for the money, but he’s actually doing something!

“The other person I really admire is Rosie Batty. Luke’s death happened just near where I lived. I know people who knew Luke. It was such a shock for everyone.”

When questioned about what advise he would offer to his 13 year-old self, Duggan is quick to respond: “Take up bass guitar earlier… and pay attention in maths!”

And, to his fellow BSSC students: “Take advantage of all the opportunities you have here. I had to commute when I first started and I realised how far some students travel for the chance to be at this school.”