Year 12 student, Maia Rossi, has many things she can be proud of, but having the courage to move to Bendigo Senior for VCE is her biggest life achievement so far.

“It means an hour on the train each way,” she says, “but once I’d checked out BSSC, I knew this was where I could really thrive.”

Winning four academic awards at the end of Year 11 was vindication Maia’s decision to move had well and truly paid off.

“Awards for Psychology, Sociology and Photography were wonderful,” she says, “but the Hospitality 3-4 award was particularly satisfying because it was a Year 12 subject.”

More than anything, Maia is grateful for the support of her family.

“They’ve been wonderful,” she says. “They fully supported me to change colleges.”

Still, the first day at a new school is always going to be nerve-wracking.

“I stood at the railway station reminding myself nothing really horrible could happen,” Maia remembers. “I imagined achieving all the things I hoped for.”

BSSC has certainly lived up to her expectations.

“I’ve discovered I can be myself—express myself openly—in a college community that supports diversity in every way,” she says. “I’ve met so many fabulous people here. I particularly love how my teachers take the time to help me do well—they actually feel more like friends.”

Being supported and trusted by her teachers has built Maia’s confidence to take responsibility for her own learning.

Covid lockdowns and remote learning has been a mixed experience for Maia. Being with her family and deepening her relationship with her mum were real benefits of the first year, but by the second year, lack of personal contact with wider family and friends wore thin.

“I have an uncle who has been like a grandfather to me—I hated thinking of him alone in his house,” she says.

Walks with a friend who lives nearby were much-valued breaks from the bubble life became.

Post-Covid—the escape from hours on-screen—brought new appreciation for being able to attend school.

Maia and her friends are once again relishing being able to explore the picturesque and quirky little country towns that surround them, and Maia is back at her part-time job at Kyneton’s popular cafe Duck Duck Goose.

After performing better in Year 11 than she expected, Maia now has the impetus to commit more fully to Year 12.

Initially planning an unscored Year 12, she’s now aiming for an ATAR that may be useful down the track.

“I was concerned about how stressful Year 12 can be,” she acknowledges, “but I’ve developed good study skills that work well for me.”

Maia can often be found in a quiet part of the Arts floor working on her folio, or in the BSSC Library reviewing her recent classes.

While new possibilities are opening up to Maia with an ATAR in the pipeline—and she has considered studying social work given her natural empathy—she’s in no rush to head to uni. Another passion has been bubbling away.

Maia’s done her research and discovered a 12-month floristry course at Melbourne Polytechnic.

“I have this dream of running a funky, ethical, sustainable florist business filled with handmade extras in Fitzroy or Brunswick,” she says.

While Maia’s artistic soul will no doubt enhance her ability as a florist, right now it’s inspiring the abstract works she paints in her art space at home.

“There is a sun image I’m exploring at the moment—redesigning it in different ways,” she says. “I also did Photography last year and it’s still a deep interest.”

Maia loves taking images of people as part of landscape.

“I’m incorporating quite a bit of what I learnt last year into Art General for Year 12.”

Music is also important to Maia. Her all-time favourite musician is Rex Orange County, but she has wide and eclectic tastes.

Given the opportunity to have a chat with absolutely anybody, living or dead, Maia would choose her maternal grandmother.

“There are so many things I would love to ask her,” Maia says. “What my Mum (one of ten kids) was like when she was younger; How my grandmother felt about having ten kids; Did she have other things she wanted to do but couldn’t because her life was so absorbed with caring for her kids.”

Maia would also have some sage advice for her 12-year-old self if she could go back in time.

“I’d tell her not to be afraid to change her mind. To be courageous and go with what she really wants to do. Oh, and not to date boys until Year 11—it will be worth the wait!”