Gina Weston of Wollumbin High school with Crystal Creek Public School students.
Gina Weston of Wollumbin High school with Crystal Creek Public School students. John Gass

Pupils get taste of high school

ONE might liken completing public schooling to climbing a steep but rewarding cliff-face.

Crystal Creek and other local public school students are not ascending without a helping hand, as evidenced by visits from Wollumbin High School students on Tuesday.

School captains Nicola Albury and Anthony Dovie and Year 7s Katie Stewart, Gina Weston and John Ward showed Crystal Creek's students they were surviving high school's expectations.

Principal Karen Connell pointed out Gina was a former Crystal Creek student.

"Does anyone recognise Gina? Does she look like she's well? Happy?" Ms Connell asked, to which she received nods.

"Good, because she's survived."

Over two days Wollumbin visited seven partner or "feeder" public schools as part of a transition program, Ms Connell said.

"By the time the Year 6s come they really do know what's happening.

"There's about 80 students at Crystal Creek, and at our school there's about that in Year 7 alone and about 470 overall.

"At high school you will be fine - while it sounds like a big number it's not that big for a high school."

The public school students had the opportunity to meet their potential 2013 Year 7 adviser Joanne Hurst.

Ms Hurst explained her role was to fulfil extra duties normally expected of the one teacher public school students had, as they would have many at high school.

"I'll basically be helping you adjust to high school life," she said.

"The goal is a fun, successful and happy experience."

The three Wollumbin Year 7s took the younger students gathered in front of them through the intricacies of high school, of which they enjoyed but clearly were not yet experts at.

Gina said 20 minutes of mentoring started each school day at 8.45am, after which five one hour classes with two half hour breaks began at 9.05am, then school ended at 3.05pm.

The public school children hung on her every word.

Katie explained the importance of the word "hang" at high school, in relation to the fact all Year 7s would not necessarily share classes with their friends.

"The word 'hang' means hanging with your friends.

"Some won't be in the same classes, so you catch up with them during breaks at your hang, which you're expected to keep clean."

Nicola and Anthony spoke of the myriad differences between high school and primary, and may have appeared mythical, childlike giants speaking of a far away fictional land.

Ms Connell reassured the students that because Wollumbin was a small high school, they would form closer relationships with their teachers and peers.

One Crystal Creek student asked when he could start surfing during Wednesday sport, to which Ms Connell replied 15 years old with a surf safety certificate.

Another asked whether classes could be chosen, and she replied they were set based on ability to begin with and there would be more choice in later years.

"Do you have to finish Year 12 to go to university?" one girl asked.

"Yes you do, and you have to work very hard," Ms Connell replied.

If you are thinking of enrolling your child at Wollumbin High School next year please visit its Open Afternoon on Tuesday March 6, from 3.30-5.30pm (NSW).



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