It was all smiles this week, as BSSC team members Donna Hamilton and Simone Baker got together to reminisce on their time in Year 12—all sparked by a windcheater from the 80s.
Still in excellent condition, the windcheater features the names of graduates from 1988 and was brought in by Donna to show colleagues—including Simone—who was in the same cohort.
The memories came flooding back to the pair as they scanned through the familiar names and shared stories from their time at what was then Bendigo High School.
“I remember the ‘Common Room’, where students would meet up and study,” Simone reflects. “This was where the current Business classrooms are now. It was a bit of a hub.
“I’ve got memories of exams in James King Hall. When I go in there now, I feel like I’m right back there!”
For Donna, there is a reason she has held onto the jumper for all these years; it sparks nostalgia for the great times she had at BSSC during Years 11 and 12.
“Fun with friends, hanging out, carefree laughs—that’s what I think of when I look at it,” she says.
Their journey came full circle, with Donna taking on the role of BSSC Student Wellbeing Advisor in 2010 and Simone joining the Careers and Pathways team in 2020.
“I’ve found it really interesting and positive to have experienced being both a student and a staff member here.” Donna explains.
“I’m really proud to be a part of such a connected, supportive and passionate community where students and staff are all respected. I witness how staff are so dedicated to ensure students have every opportunity to succeed and make their time at BSSC enjoyable and memorable.”
For Simone, the feeling of being back at the college and in a position to help young people makes her incredibly proud.
“After Year 12 I went to work at a bank ‘for one year’, but ended up staying for 15!” she says. “Then I started to get into Education, Training and Employment. Walking into BSSC, I was so overwhelmed by everybody’s commitment to helping students. It’s amazing being part of their journeys – it’s a dream job.”
As members of the Wellbeing and Careers teams respectively, Donna and Simone help students to navigate their way through life at school and, of course, beyond Year 12. Their advice to students is similar – it’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out just yet.
“Along the way, I’ve learnt the value of not feeling like you need to have it all figured out straight away… that a variety of experience and change is what nourishes and adds to our lives.” Donna says.
Simone echoes the sentiment.
“There are so many pathways out there,” she says. “Don’t give up on a dream. It’s never too late.”