If BBSC Year 12 student, Leroy Miller, could talk to anyone living or dead his choice would be the great English novelist, Charles Dickens.

“I’d love to ask Dickens how he was able to shape his work to highlight social issues and still tell such brilliant stories,” says Leroy. “I would ask him his method and what he was most proud of.”

A musical adaption of the Dicken’s classic, Oliver will be performed in Bendigo later this year and Leroy is “stoked” to part of the production.

He has the part of the notorious Fagin—a personality Leroy suspects was formed by the injustices of the parochial 1800s English society in which Dickens lived.

While he is a keen reader of the classics, Leroy decided against studying English Literature because he was worried his workload would be too great. It was no easy decision.

“This year my favourite subjects are Media, Vis Com and VET Digital Media,” Leroy says.

Thanks to his dad who is a media teacher, Leroy has been dabbling with video since around Grade 6.

“I’ve always just loved the process—from idea design through to editing,” he recalls.

Leroy came to BSSC from a college that was not highly focused on art subjects, but has found his people at BSSC and is loving having his ideas welcomed and encouraged.

“I used to feel so shut down, so I love the way we are supported to explore our creativity,” he says. “I’d recommend the college because there really is something for everyone.

“I particularly appreciate the great conversations I have with my Media teacher, Rachel. She actively listens to me, encourages me, and directs me to resources I may not have thought of.”

He’s also loving the way Media, Vis Com and VET Digital Media enhance each other.

The only change Leroy would like to see is more occasions where the whole college comes together.

His post-secondary plan is to study a Bachelor of Film and Television at Melbourne Uni and he hopes to become a director of photography, an editor, or a colourist.

And the big dream?

“I’d love to have my own film or media company one day,” Leroy says with a smile.

Diversity is also something he associates with his experience of the college.

“Every day you meet people from different walks of life and study areas,” he explains, “and there are a huge variety of ideas, designs and creativity being encouraged in the Visual Art department.”

Leroy has also discovered that education at BSSC is not just about marks and ATARs. One of the life lessons he will take away is that ‘what you put in is what you get out’ applies to all of life.

“I overheard a teacher say to a student one day: ‘there is no point to life other than the one you create. You have to find what’s right for you and create your own purpose and meaning’.

“I hadn’t seriously asked the question ‘what will be right for me?

While Leroy accepts all his experiences over the last six years have shaped him in important ways, he would love to go back and tell his 12 year-old self not to worry so much about what others think.

“I would also love to say ‘make sure you have a strong sense of support—not necessarily lots of friends, but quality people around you’.”

Leroy feels fortunate to have had this himself. He’s grateful for the support of “a great family” who he says taught him values about respecting and caring about others, and a girlfriend who shares his passion for the arts and will be performing alongside him in Oliver.

Which brings us back to that other love of his life—acting.

After joining his college’s drama club in Year 8, and participating in the school production in Year 9, Nexus Youth Theatre was a natural next step.

Leroy has not found it hard to balance his acting roles with his studies and made the most of the extra down-time during the 2020 lockdown to concentrate on learning his lines and songs for Oliver.

His life has also been enriched by the discovery of an Indigenous connection through his great grandmother. As he learns more, Leroy is taking his links to the Wiradjuri people more seriously and has been trying to learn language and connect with other Indigenous students.

His trips to Wiradjuri Country have impacted him greatly and he has begun a profound journey to find out as much as he can about his Aboriginal heritage.