BSSC Year 12 student, Josh Sandy-Waters, describes school as a launching pad for young people to develop curiosity about the world around them.

“I actually love learning—especially how things work and why they’re the way they are. I may not be the best student, but I love tackling complex problems and understanding the ‘big picture’ of issues.

“Sometimes my curiosity is the reason I don’t get my homework done!”

Josh describes BSSC as ‘layered’.

“The buildings are multi-level and spread across the campus. The variety of subjects taught is amazing, and all the extra opportunities BSSC offers creates layers of opportunity. I really like the freedom, but also the expectation that if you’re invested you’ll be here.”

Josh also believes turning up and getting involved in your learning is an opportunity for students to show their teachers—and themselves—they’re committed.

He’s really happy with his teachers and says good teachers make all the difference to how well he does and how much he enjoys a subject—it’s just all that homework…

He’s found the biggest challenge at BSSC is dealing with his tendency to procrastinate, which for him means he tends to leave homework to the last minute and then tries to rush through it.

“Be great if classes were really long and you could do all the work there and then.”

Despite this, Josh does manage his procrastinating tendencies. He prioritises the most critically important homework and then plans to do the non-essentials when he can.

“I also need to have a clear and empty desk because anything in that space can be a distraction, so sometimes I work outside if I have all my gaming gear set up.”

He also sets himself deadlines to keep on top of his workload.

Alongside gaming, Josh goes online to access Anime, educational videos and TED talks.

“I love anything to do with astronomy—especially black holes and rockets.”

Josh has an interest in blacksmithing and has found amazing tool-smithing videos online—including one about a guy who attempted to make a knife out of obsidian which is a kind of volcanic glass.

However, Josh’s life does not just revolve around screens.

He has begun learning to fly with Bendigo Flying Club and it’s the highlight of his fortnight—and an important move for someone keen to have a career as a pilot.

“I would love to be a commercial pilot or run my own business taking people on scenic flights over Central Victoria.”

He holds wonderful memories of his own first experience of flight—a commercial flight—when he was about 9 or 10.

“It was fantastic and I’ve been interested in flying ever since.”

Josh works part-time at Kangaroo Flat Subway and this job is very important for someone learning to fly: flight training is expensive.

An interest in history and politics has led him to think more deeply about global events and situations and he feels ideologies across the world are getting more extreme.

“Wars are on the rise even though we know their impact. Despite the present nuclear deterrence treaties, and the obvious terrible consequences of a nuclear war, there are still nuclear weapons stockpiled.”

Josh says he wonders if our present political systems are not working very effectively.

“I can see some benefits in having a benevolent monarch,” he says. “It’s a risk they too could become dangerous dictators, but at least they would have been properly prepared for their life’s work and responsibilities.”

Despite all his curiosity and interest in learning, Josh wishes he’d taken his education more seriously from a younger age.

“I’d say to my 12 year-old self to focus more on what’s truly beneficial at a particular time. To make the most of opportunities right in front of me and to have a back-up if certain things don’t work out.

“Recently I have been doing this more—for example I’ve taken legal studies this year to make sure I have another career option if the flying plan doesn’t eventuate.”

Looking back at the impact of Covid, Josh says, “I loved the lockdowns because I don’t need social contact to stay happy”.

This is not to say Josh is not grateful for the wonderful people in his life—especially his Mum and her support of his education.

“I’m also grateful for all the teachers I’ve ever had. Without them I could not have developed the ideas I have, or gone so far—and I love all the great conversations I’ve had with teachers about all kinds of stuff.”

One memorable—and hilarious—interaction Josh remembers was a group of students and a teacher discussing if it would be possible to extract and recycle the trace elements of uranium found in human poo to produce energy. Now there’s a thought!