Year 12 student, Rose Norton, came to BSSC knowing virtually no-one. She made friends with people in her various classes, but has stuck to her plan to commit fully to her studies.

Rose says she’s really enjoying Senior and would recommend it. As someone who has attended a number of schools, her opinion carries some weight.

“We are treated as adults here,” she says. “We are transitioning to adulthood and we need to know how to take responsibility for our time and learning.”

It’s the freedom at BSSC Rose really likes—the subject choice, no uniform, and being able to leave the College if you need to.

“That works really well for me because I prefer to study at home—and if I have a free first up, I’ll sometimes use it to get extra sleep which really helps me.”

Rose’s ‘hot study tip’ is to do your homework as soon as you get it, keep a calendar of when things are due and use a tick-box system so you can see how much you’re achieving.

Rose remembers having her heart set on being a vet when she was around twelve years of age.

“If I could go back in time and give myself some advice—well, anything that wasn’t completely related to being a vet—would probably be ignored because I was so sure I would never change my mind.

“But I have.”

To say music is now a major part of Rose’s life would be something of an understatement.

She is studying 3/4 Music Performance and having classical singing lessons with local teacher, Louise Matthews.

She’s also a member of the Bendigo Youth Choir.

In fact, Rose cannot recall a time when she was NOT singing and says she used to get into trouble at school for humming in class.

These days she cannot imagine her life without song and has noticed how the depth of emotion the human voice can bring to a piece is not possible with any other instrument.

She’s a soprano and says her highest ‘quality’ note is E6—a note described on Wikipedia as often difficult even for a person with a voice in the higher register.

The violin provided her first foray into formal music education when she was just eight. She worked through to Grade 7 violin, but also picked up singing along the way.

“I did quite well in my Grade 7 violin exam but the commitment needed for Year 8, combined with a disappointment about the pieces I would be learning, led me to stop violin and fully focus on classical singing—especially opera.”

Despite a hiatus between Years 7 and 9, Rose has quickly moved through the formal Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) levels and is preparing for 8th Grade AMEB singing exams later in the year.

One of her pieces this year is by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius: Kaiutar (Echo Nymph).

Sibelius was a Romantic-era Finnish composer—widely considered his country’s greatest composer—and a champion of

Finland both politically and due to his intense love for the Finnish landscape.

“I would love to have a conversation with him—to hear Sibelius speak about music and the world in general would be fantastic.”

However, while Rose’s obvious talent and commitment to her singing suggest a pathway to the conservatorium, she is also considering a career in nursing—preferably studying at La Trobe, Bendigo.

“Even if I’m not making a living from music, there are likely to be many community-based opportunities to be involved in opera. So I think I can probably do both.”

The idea of settling in one place for a long period appeals to Rose and she well-knows that musicians are often touring.

Still, Rose has not completely written off the possibility of a classical singing career.

“If I did go down that path, I would either study at the conservatorium, or just dive in and audition for the chorus in an opera company. Then I’d work my way towards more substantial roles.”

Despite her commitment to her studies and her singing, Rose is also learning Auslan.

Last year she made enquiries about volunteering and saw first-hand the value of one organisation assisting people who are deaf to access resources and services.

In the hospital setting, Rose can imagine how easily communication could be compromised for a very unwell person who normally lip-reads.

As far as Rose is concerned, learning Auslan is part of preparing to be a nurse.

She also still manages a casual job with Proud’s Jewellers and is involved with Yo-Bendigo as part of their events team. She’s a non-competitive member of Bendigo Diving Club—although she will be diving for BSSC at an inter-school competition soon.

Despite all that she is achieving and contributing, and the many opportunities and interesting experiences she has had, it is music that has her heart—it’s her voice Rose is most grateful for.

“I also think it’s so important to be learning new things all the time and developing your talents. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do that.”

If you’re thinking Rose sounds like a bit of a mover and shaker, it’s possibly genetic. Her Mum spent six months in Antarctica working as a Lab Technician.

“Mum just loved it and the photos she took are incredible—and yes, I’d love to go there.”