Claudia Duncan | Year 12, 2016 | School Captain:
I’ve been at St Luke’s since Cottage. Mum and dad sent me when I was three, and I’m now in Year 12 doing my HSC, 15 years later. St Luke’s has in essence, been my second home, so naturally there are so many things about it that I adore.
Within this post, I’m going to be talking mostly about the social, emotional and community aspect of life at St Luke’s from a student’s perspective, in addition to the multitude opportunities that I have been blessed with here.
In Year 7 I signed up for basketball, and have been playing with the girls every week for the past 6 years and I’ve also had the opportunity to get involved with various netball competitions and fun activities in PE or sport time. In the academic area, in addition to the obvious day to day classes, exterior events such as the Davinci Decathlons and Gateway 8 have been great little additions to learning over the years.
The Duke of Edinborough program is another great opportunity I’ve had that will definitely really help with Uni and job applications, as well as being really worthwhile in it’s own right. The program involves a camping and outdoors section, a skill component, and a large element of community service which is compulsory for all Year 9’s to gain their Bronze award, and then optional for Silver and Gold in later years. That has been an incredibly valuable element of my time here, as well as a number of other community service and extracurricular activities.
Now aside from the obvious academic, sporting, musical and artistic basis of school, I’ve found the social and community element of St Luke’s to probably be the real highlight of my time here, and the part that makes me so happy to come to school every day. One of the biggest things in high school has definitely been the Tutor and Year Co-ordinator relationships, where one staff member stays with the whole year group all the way from Year 7 to 12, and every house group also has another two teachers who will stay with them all the way through.
It means that there’s always at least two people around who know you really well, who have been with you for your whole schooling and are always there for you to talk about anything, and that has definitely been incredibly valuable and comforting.
Another thing that I really love about St Luke’s is that there’s a lot of social freedom. Throughout my whole time here, I’ve never felt any pressure to be ‘the sporty one’ or ‘the genius one’, or ‘the popular girl’ and what I absolutely love is that the peers that we all look up to are the ones who have a balance of each of those elements, and that’s also what we’re encouraged to have by all of the staff. There’s a real emphasis on not pushing us academically to the point where our social, sporting lives and mental health suffers, so that we can have a healthy balance.
When we asked around Year 12 as a Year group, that was the big thing that stood out for them about the school. It’s also totally fine to have friends in other Year groups, which is always helpful with differing interests and levels of maturity within a Year group, and some of my best friends have been in the Year above which is pretty special.
The co-ed nature of the school has also been a really valuable element of the St Luke’s, and was one of the main reasons that I decided to stay here for high school. Having the boys around is great, and I think for girls especially it’s really comforting to know that if any issues happen in your friendship group, especially around that tricky Year 8 stage, you can escape and just hang out with the guys and have a good laugh. It’s created a very real life situation which I think is really important, especially today when as a society we are having very in depth conversations about gender equality.
Overall, there is a real welcoming, accepting, and nurturing feel here, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been here nearly my whole life, but this emotional and social element of St Luke’s, the tight knit community, has helped me to love school even when it’s tough, and has allowed me to feel secure and glad to come here every day.