BSSC Year 12 student, Sam Graham, used the words: ‘vibrant’, ‘engaging’ and ‘fantastic’ when asked what he thinks about senior.

“The facilities, class sizes and subject choice are great—but the staff are the big asset.

“They work so hard to make connections with their students. There are no favourites and I’d definitely recommend BSSC.”

Sam’s long-term focus is to build on his interest in PE and Health.

He’s considering Exercise Physiology or Teaching, and hopes to study at either La Trobe Bendigo or Deakin in Geelong.

Sam says he admires the environment at BSSC so much he would work to build a similar environment if he became a teacher.

“Schools should be places where students are enabled to do well.”

His own education journey has been positive. Grade 3 was his first exposure to the benefits of leadership training and he’s never looked back.

“I joined our school’s equivalent of the Student Leadership Team and loved the chance to take a more involved role in events at California Gully Primary.

“In Year 6 I was President of the SLT and School Captain.”

Eaglehawk Secondary College brought Sam more leadership opportunities. Each year level is divided into communities and Sam was elected Junior Community Leader in Year 8 and Community Leader in Year 9.

He was pretty stoked to be both Community Leader and a School Captain for Year 10.

“I think many students don’t realise the value of leadership training—it builds your self-confidence big time.

“You learn public speaking, time management, event planning and how to be resilient—like when some great idea falls flat you just have to move on. There’s no room for tantrums.”

Sam says he’s so proud he took that first plunge into leadership back in Year 3—and that he’s stuck with it throughout his entire education.

Sam arrived at BSSC with leadership experience and skills already under his belt.

He was elected Year 11 Vice-President of the BSSC Student Leadership Team (SLT) in 2022.

This year he hopes the SLT will organize and promote more music and sport-related opportunities—and he has high hopes for another successful Formal.

“We also need to liaise with the wider student body to find out what students really want.”

Beyond school, a long-term passion of Sam’s is badminton.

He’s been playing since he was nine and his family has been involved in the sport for years. His dad has competed nationally.

“But I wasn’t forced into it,” he says, “I just had a go and loved it. Dad now coaches me and I have competed at state level.”

He now has badminton commitments two nights a week because as well as playing senior competition, Sam is also involved with coaching.

If this extracurricular load sounds challenging for a VCE student, you need to know Sam is also involved with Little Athletics—something he was part of growing up and now contributes as an official.

“I really notice how happy the kids are when they’re at Little Aths. If you see a kid not smiling you know something’s up.”

Somehow he finds time to work as a casual at the popular Eaglehawk Bakery as well.

According to Sam, the secret to keeping on top of his studies—and all his other interests—is to do most of his homework/study at school.

“There are always distractions at home, whereas the college is set up as a learning space.

“I like to do continuous revision of what we’re doing in class and I try to break up my study sessions by being task-focused and moving between subjects.”

This year Sam is studying PE, Sport & Recreation, Maths Methods, Health & Human Development and English.

Sam has long been concerned about mental ill-health issues in young people.

He’s watched a few friends struggle to hold onto mental wellbeing through Covid—and saw how tough it was for them.

“The return to a sense of normality has been really positive for lots of people as they’ve been able to socialise more.”

Sam names Guy Sebastian as someone he would love to have a conversation with.

“Guy’s not just a great singer, he also runs his own mental health support program.

“His team works with kids who have mental health issues and he tries to connect personally with as many of them as possible.

“I’d love to ask Guy what motivated him to set up that foundation.”

Asked what he was most grateful for in his life, Sam says it is his family’s love, support, commitment and engagement, in everything he and his sibling take on.

Given the chance to go back and give his 12 year-old self some advice, Sam says he would go with: ‘give it your all’.

“I did slack off in Year 8 and lost so much motivation. It was great to get that back.”