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15 January 2020
By LOTTE REITER
The combination of excitement and nerves that comes with transitioning from primary to secondary school is a memory many who have completed their education have likely forgotten.
For much of the Wimmera’s 2019 graduating year-six students, however, it’s currently a reality.
From a new environment, classes and teachers to different peers and uniforms, the approaching school year will likely mark one of the biggest changes such students will experience in their school lives.
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Horsham’s Grady McCourt, among those preparing to make the change, believes it is therefore important that students take time to speak to teachers and parents about their concerns.
The former Ss Michael and John’s Primary School captain will start year seven at St Brigid’s College at the end of the month.
He said the idea was one that had both worried and excited him at first. But after talking to his primary and secondary teachers, as well as his parents, he said he felt eager to get back to school.
“At the start I was a little bit nervous,” he admitted.
“For the seven years I was at St Michael’s I was almost friends with everyone and knew everyone, and now I’m going into this new group where everyone is older, and I don’t know them as much.
“But after talking to my primary school teachers, my parents and Mr Gutteridge at St Brigid’s, who all told me not to worry and that I can still catch up with friends if they go to a different school, I’m actually a lot more excited.
“It is going to be a change, but it is not going to be that big.”
For many families, a child’s transition from primary school to high school can also be just as much about a parent relinquishing some of their responsibility to their children.
Roslyn McCourt, Grady’s mum, said her son and many of his friends were now at a stage where they were trying to be more independent.
She said while this change was scary, particularly because it meant her youngest child was becoming more of an adult, she was also excited to see him broaden his mind and opportunities.
“Grady is our last child. He’s our youngest, and it feels like the time has gone so fast,” she said.
“So, it’s a little bit scary because obviously he’s going to have more responsibility, and I think as parents we’ll have to trust the school will be looking after them.
“But I’m very excited that he’ll be able to do more of what he is interested in and passionate about, because the subjects that they’re teaching at St Brigid’s, like history and geography, are things that they didn’t teach at the primary school.
“So, this will really be able to let him learn in areas that he really wants to.”
Mrs McCourt said she felt this change had also been made easier for Grady because he had attended multiple orientation days and had the opportunity to get to know his teachers.
She said she thought this was important for any student preparing for high school in order to make them feel more familiar and comfortable at their new school.
“Even though Grady comes across as being a really outspoken and confident person, he has been a bit apprehensive about going from grade six to year seven,” she said.
“But what has really helped him is that he’s done a lot of orientation days, he’s gotten to know the teachers and the classrooms and St Brigid’s has had a few fun activities through the year that grade six students were invited to attend.
“And because it’s in a fun environment, he has learnt to feel comfortable.
“So, I just think that no matter what personality you have, the child needs to be able to visit the school they are going to be attending a few times before they go into year seven.
“For Grady, at least, I think it has made a huge difference in his confidence.”
The entire January 15, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!