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From the Principal's desk

In every edition of The Auracle, we celebrate the many and varied achievements of our students. In this, the final edition for the year, we honour our annual award recipients for 2021. I invite you to view a complete list of our deserving prize winners here. Prizes were awarded for academic achievement and for success attained via the college’s merit system. Prizes included the:

  • First in Course Award – the recipient achieved first place in the subject in their cohort
  • Academic Excellence Award – the recipient achieved first place in the subject in their class
  • Academic Achievement Award – the recipient showed sustained application and effort in the subject
  • Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence – the recipient achieved an aggregated top ten place in their cohort
  • Galaxy Medal – the recipient showed ongoing commitment to achieving academic excellence in all subjects.

This year, we had the pleasure of also celebrating 5 new Universal Achievers:

  • Ivy Lawson (Year 8)
  • Leila Pepperell (Year 8)
  • Zoe Cowled (Year 9)
  • James Greenway (Year 10)
  • Tianyue Tang (Year 10)

The Universal Achiever Award is the highest honour bestowed upon a student via our school merit scheme.

On 2 December, partner schools received certificates and/or medals for all prize winners. I would like to thank our colleagues for presenting these awards, as intended, at the end of year presentation assemblies across the state. Congratulations, to all our bright lights!

This week, we said goodbye to a number of staff who, for a range of personal and professional reasons, will not be with Aurora in 2022. I would like to acknowledge and thank the following staff for the many contributions they have made to our school: Erin Richardson (Science); Trudy Spargo (Science); Geoff Goldrick (Science); Kerryn Ibbott (Physics); Damian Arnold (Science); Michelle Kirchmajer (Science); Greta Gaut (Mathematics); Meutia Goodwin (Mathematics); Raymond Montalban (Software Design and Development); Gregor Newton (English); Renetta Wolfe (Japanese Beginners); Elena Maroungas (Economics); Lucy Jellema (Stage 3); and Christina Tantalos (School Counsellor). I know I speak for the entire Aurora College community when I wish our departing colleagues all the very best in their future endeavours. Remember, Aurora College is part of our shared professional legacy and each of you can be proud of your contribution to the state’s first virtual school.

I am advised by the Department’s High Performing Students Team (HPST) that the selection process for the 2022 Opportunity Class is progressing as planned. Placement outcome advice will be sent by HPST to all applicants in mid-January 2022. To ensure vacancies are filled as quickly as possible, parents with students who are made offers will have just one week to respond. Parents are advised to watch their emails or depute someone else to respond on their behalf, if they will be out of contact when the results are released. In late-January, successful applicants will receive information from Aurora College about the orientation program for our new Year 5 students and their parents which will run in the first weeks of 2022.

With our second intake of Year 5 students through the state-wide Opportunity Class Placement Process, Aurora will commence the new school year with close to 650 students. To put these numbers into perspective, this represents an increase of almost 300% on the number of students enrolled at the start of 2015, our first year of operation. Connect locally and learn globally with Aurora!

To accommodate the increase in enrolments in 2022, a state-wide expression of interest process concluded recently with the appointment to Aurora of a number of new members of the teaching staff. I would like to congratulate and welcome to Aurora College: Alexandria Lunguly (Stage 3 – Leppington Public School); Alice Leung (Science – Concord High School); Annalissa Roy (Stage 3 – Kent Road Public School); Candice Morris-Grant (Science – Murwillumbah High School); Ciaran Quinn (Mathematics – Erina High School); Danielle Latinovic (Learning Support – Southern Cross School of Distance Education); Emma Kelly (Mathematics – Hunter Sports High School); Jaclyn Crawford (English – Lisarow High School); Jaye Dunn (Geography – Epping Boys High School); Katharine Tat (Mathematics – Elizabeth Macarthur High School); Katie Zerefos (Japanese Beginners – NSW School of Languages); Kuldip Khehra (Mathematics – Quakers Hill High School); Kumie Pather (Software Design and Development – Wyndham College); Kylie Snell (Stage 3 – Wadalba Community School); Lyle Warren (Science – Turramurra High School); Samantha Martin (Aurora College – Science); Scott Preskett (Aurora College – Mathematics); and Tania White (Orara High School – Legal Studies). We also welcome the return of Anthony Martin to the Mathematics Faculty at Aurora. Great to have you back in the fold, Anthony!

To give the majority of our students the opportunity to take part in orientation activities at their home school, Aurora College classes for secondary students in the:

  • Eastern division commence on Thursday 3 February 2022
  • Western division commence on Thursday 10 February 2022.

Coursework will not commence until students in the Western division start the school year. Secondary students in class before Thursday 10 February 2022 will undertake an orientation and revision program with their Aurora College teachers. Students in the Western division are welcome to join their Aurora classes earlier, if their home school program allows.

This week, all students and their parents received an email from me with important information about 2022 classes, teachers and timetables. The email also contains information about key members of staff at your home school, including your Aurora College Coordinator and Science Practical Teacher (where applicable). Please carefully review this information before the start of the new school year.

To all our families and friends, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous 2022.

Chris Robertson | Principal

Deputy Principal's report

What a year it has been! As we come to the close of 2021 at Aurora College, we reflect on another year of successes and challenges; without a doubt, this year has been no exception. To our students, staff and communities, I commend you for the way you have successfully navigated the hurdles that 2021 has brought. Learning and teaching from home, plagues, floods and droughts have seen all of us dig a little deeper to show grit and determination. Congratulations for showing up, and indeed, for giving your best under some very exceptional circumstances.

Thank you to our amazing team of teachers and staff that show their dedication and passion for our students each and every day. We wish you all a safe and well deserved break.

Year 7-11 lesson orientations

Thank you to Virginia Cluff and the team of teachers who organised our orientation lessons for the new students who will be joining us in 2022. During these lessons, our new students were shown some of the various technology platforms that they will be engaging with next year, including Adobe Connect and Microsoft Teams. There were many engaged students, all excited at the prospect of communicating with teachers and peers in the virtual learning environment.

New Teacher Induction Conference

Our new 2022 teachers were welcomed to Aurora virtually for a staff induction format. In a very full 4 days, they completed the University of NSW’s mini-Certificate of Gifted Education and were also provided with a comprehensive introduction to all things Aurora. Thank you to Marnie Etheridge and all the executive staff who were involved in this event and a warm welcome to the new staff to our school!

Aurora College Coordinators

Thank you to all the Aurora College Coordinators who have supported our shared students this year. Your support, help and communication between the two schools is vitally important to the success of Aurora in educating our high performing and gifted students, particularly in allowing them to access further opportunities.

Reports

Semester 2 reports were distributed to parents and Aurora College Coordinators during week 10 of this term. Parents have access to these reports via their email and Sentral portal. Please be aware that all students are working beyond their stage level through a compacted and enriched curriculum.

School holidays begin 17 December 2021 for all students. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

Aurora classes begin in 2022

  • Eastern Division Schools – Thursday 3 February 2022
  • Western Division Schools – Thursday 10 February 2022

What’s coming up next year?

Over the holiday break, successful students will be offered placement in 2022 in Aurora’s Year 5 Opportunity Class It will be a busy start to the year as we prepare for new students, ACCs and communities to connect with us. We are looking forward to welcoming our new students to the Aurora family.

The first Residential School for 2022 is planned for Term 1 from Monday 28 February 2021 to Friday 4 March 2021. A final decision on whether the Residential School will take place will be made when advice for Term 1 is provided by the Department of Education. We hope to accommodate Years 7, 9 and 10 at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation on Sydney’s northern beaches, only 45 minutes from the centre of Sydney and moments from Narrabeen Beach. Year 6 and 8 will be accommodated at Elanora Uniting Venues, approximately 15 minutes from the Sydney Academy of Sport.

Further information regarding the residential is available on the school website under latest news.

Serena McLean | R/Deputy Principal

Student Wellbeing - Learning and Support

Wellbeing tips for the holidays

Holidays can be challenging. Without routine, it is still important to stay healthy and look after yourself.

Good mental health and wellbeing allows you to live your life in a positive and meaningful way and cope with life’s changes and challenges.

For some young people, this time of year can be challenging. It can feel as though they’ve been taken away from their usual routine of school or work and they may not get to see their friends and teachers as often as they would like to. This can leave them feeling bored, unsupported, upset and sometimes anxious.

It’s important to stay healthy and look after yourself. There are several ways to help you do this, and organisations such as Headspace and Reachout have some helpful suggestions listed on their websites which can be accessed using the links provided.

For Students:

For Parents and Carers:

Enjoy your break and take the time to relax, recharge, and reconnect with those who bring out the best in you.

Julie Ruming | Head Teacher Wellbeing

Faculty - Opportunity Class

Congratulations, Year 5 2021

To conclude the year for our inaugural Opportunity Class cohort, we celebrated with an end of year Assembly via Zoom on Thursday 9 December. Parents, Coordinators, partner schools and Aurora staff gathered to celebrate the many achievements of our students, including high achievements in external competitions, as well as class awards for Academic Excellence and Academic Achievement. We were also privileged to showcase some of the innovative work produced by our students throughout the assembly. The assembly is available to view as a recording for any parent who may have missed the live stream.

It has been an absolute joy to teach this cohort, watching them grow so much throughout the year, not only in knowledge, but in confidence, empathy and passion. Congratulations, Year 5!

Brad Tucker Masterclass

Our Stage 3 classes were very lucky to be joined by Dr. Brad Tucker this term. Dr. Tucker is based at Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra and dedicated his time to provide three sessions, educating us on all things Space, including his speciality: exploding stars. They don’t happen as often as you may think! He is an astrophysicist and cosmologist who is currently leading a research team investigating the possibility of life in other galaxies. Students were buzzing with questions and could have listened to Dr. Tucker talk all day!

Space Invaders

Space is big! It is difficult to nut down just one area, so the Stage 3 team gave students choice for their STEM build this term. Students could discover the wonders of the life cycle of a star, capture space junk, debate why Pluto should be considered a planet or build a sustainable habitat for Mars. Some eager students undertook the challenge of doing a personal interest project: investigating levels of Europa, exploring the Kupier Belt and making games about black holes.

Students used their knowledge of the design thinking process to become experts in their chosen topic. They designed, built, tested and modified their prototypes, asking for feedback and conferring with the provided marking rubric and checklists. The final step was to create a 1 – 2 minute video, showing their prototype and justifying their creations. Here are some of their videos.

Maker’s Empire

This term we used an application called Maker’s Empire in our Mathematics and Science and Technology units. Maker’s Empire is an interactive, 3D modelling computer program, where students manipulate shapes to create a range of designs. These designs are then printed using a 3D printer by our amazing IT crew.

Students were set with the task to create a robot for Timmy’s Treasure Trove. The robot requirements included at least 7 different 3D shapes, lines of symmetry and special features. After an intense design session, the fun began! It took a while for students to get used to Maker’s Empire, but their robots turned out fantastic. Students will be able to use Maker’s Empire again in the future as part of the design thinking process.

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

Faculty - English, Languages and HSIE

What a wonderful year of learning it has been – whether we studied remotely, worked in our schools or oscillated between the two, we have demonstrated that the creative and flexible thinking that Aurora offers is alive and well in our faculty.

I would like to extend our best wishes to Mr Gregor Newton who will be leaving our faculty at the end of this year to take a permanent position on the Central Coast. What a lucky school to have such a dedicated, calm and knowledgeable teacher. All the best on your new journey, Mr Newton.

This year, for our end of year special prizes we did something a little differently – instead of the writer’s prize where students enter a competition at the end of the year, we decided to surprise them and instead asked teachers to submit their absolute favourite pieces of writing from students over the course of this tumultuous year. There were so many entries that it was difficult to choose, but the winners (who will have their piece published in the upcoming year book) are: Charlie Hough, Camden Matarazzo, Edward Duggan and Heidi Osgood. An award and a voucher are in your school email inbox now – congratulations!

In the meantime, enjoy some excellent examples of our student’s writing skill through their portfolio of work – a culmination of the year’s activities:

Year 7

I peered out of the frosted window into the park that was directly opposite our house, my breath appearing on the glass. Snow blanketed the field like a veil and ice hung from trees in ominous spikes. Despite the frigid temperatures, a lone hunched figure was there. Mr Leyland sat on the same wooden park bench, no matter the weather, clutching pink lilies in his hand. No matter if he was sick, cold or bored, he’d sit there like he was a part of the scenery, from the cool tones of sunrise to the warm rays of sunset. Once the sun disappeared over the horizon, he slowly rose, hunched shoulders and shuffled away, his eyes brimmed with tears. Each day, he sat there with hope in his eyes, looking down the road. I was never sure who his eyes were searching for, but I felt he was looking for someone. I’d never really talked to Mr Leyland except for saying a shy “Hello” and inviting him inside when it was raining or cold with an enticement of my hand. Every time, he’d simply say, “No thanks. Today, she’ll come”. I had wondered many times who ‘she’ is. A lover, a daughter, a mother. As I wondered who she was, I knew in my heart that they were very loved by this man, and this man would wait a lifetime for her to come.

As sure as it was that he would sit on the bench outside my window, I had wondered how I could help, if I could help, and wondered about his story. Would it bother him if I sat down next to him, feeling the cold, hardness of the wood underneath me and ask him about what happened. I often thought about approaching had never had the courage to talk to him for fear of being too nosy. Today, though, I was going to talk to him. As snowflakes fell in slow dances to the ground, I dragged on my bulky snow clothes and grabbed an almost empty packet of cookies, made some hot chocolate, convincing myself to walk over to him. Juggling the two hot drinks in my hand, I shivered as the bitter winter air blew in my face as I opened the door. I wondered how Mr Leyland could stand to stay in the cold so long. I hesitated, then took a deep breath and I trudged through the snow over to the seat and sat.

I thrust the steaming cup over to him and said “Hello. Would you like a hot chocolate and a cookie?”. He looked at me, unsure, a little surprised that he was now sharing the bench with me.

With a little twinkle in his blue eyes, he replied, “That would be lovely”, as he shakily grasped the cup rim from me. Sipping our drinks, we sat for a few minutes in silence.

Internally arguing with myself, I finally got the courage to ask him, “Why do you wait out here every day?”.

He looked at me, a serious and sad look on his face, sighed and then started his story. “50 years ago, the person I loved left me. She was married to another man, and she moved away with him. I knew she loved me and not him”.

I looked at him, elated that he started speaking to me but knowing that somewhere in this story, tears would be brought to my eyes.

“We lived our love story in stolen moments when her husband was working. He was very controlling and hard on her and felt her place was at home being a homemaker. After many amazing stolen moments, she came to me, tears streaming down her face on this very park bench and said, ‘My husband and I are moving’. She pleaded ‘I will try everything in my power to see you again. Please wait on this seat for me. Be sure to have lilies in your hand so that I know it’s you.”. He sighed, tears pooling at the edges of his eyes and looked down the street.

I felt tears in my eyes and looked away too. I didn’t know what to say, so I stayed quiet. We sat like that for a sometime. I was unsure of how long it had been before he spoke again, “Her name was Lilly. I have worked nightshifts at any place I can work, just so I can wait for her to come back to me. Sometimes I fear that she might never get away. But I always wait, just in case”, He sighed.
He looked down the street with hope in his eyes, as he always did. I looked up at Mr Leyland, but his eyes, rather than focused on his lap, were focusing on something down the street. I turned to look in the same direction as him.

“Lilly”, he muttered.

“Oh”, I said in shock.

Lilly was walking down the road, her eyes taking in everything in the snowy street. She didn’t seem to want to look at everything, as I knew, she was only looking for Mr Leyland, and nothing else. Then she saw him. Her eyes started to fill with tears. I looked back at Mr Leyland, and happiness was projecting from his face. When she reached us, I felt invisible, her eyes locked on his.
“I thought you wouldn’t wait for me”, Lilly said.

With joy in his eyes, he said, “I thought you’d never come”.

– Madison Sparrow

Year 8

Hidden Secret

Everything in the room was white. From the bedposts to the flooring there was nothing but a pure absence of colour. The walls were of such a hue that, for all I knew, there could be no walls at all. A room of nothing that stretched on into colourless oblivion. The only sound that penetrated the sheer emptiness was the clocks. Their ticking was relentless and eternal. It was everything. It was the only thing.

Although my only company was the ticking of the clocks, I was able to keep no sense of time. I was trapped in this room for what could have been a day or a year or anything in between. Every tick sent a shiver down my spine. It was agony sitting there, just waiting for something to happen. I had to do something.

Even though it went against every fibre of my being, I knew the only thing to do was to walk towards the clocks. They were the only things that seemed real here.

I found them before long – pure white and repulsive in every sense. I knew I had to destroy them, to at least put a stop to the ominous ticking. I plunged my hands deep inside the clock faces, cracking glass and wood, busting apart cogs and springs. There was no more ticking.

I heaved a sigh of relief before noticing something on the ground. Colour. Ovals of sticky red sat before each clock. Is this my ticket to freedom? I thought. Then I realised that they weren’t just ovals, they were faces. And that wasn’t just red, that was blood. The ovals became the faces of all those that I love most dearly, warm against the cold tiled floor.

Then I saw my hands – they were bloody too. I only blinked and the world seemed normal again. A normal room except for the four bodies slumped on the floor, each with a gaping cavity ripped in their chest.

– Max Girling

Year 10

Dear Netflix, (Heckler)

Dear Netflix,

Although it began as a handy way to continue watching my favourite show, the automatic ‘next episode’ button is beginning to ruin my life.

At first, it was simple, ten full seconds to exit before it started the next one. You were considerate, charming, helpful, and informative. It gave enough time to dash out and grab a biscuit, maybe a drink if, unlike me, you are someone who doesn’t spill things.

After the novelty wore off however, things went downhill. I find myself stuck there, watching hours of television. The episode ends, you get up to go do something, and then Netflix starts counting down the seconds like a parent trying to get their toddler to hand over that fifth biscuit.

And then what did you go and do?

The timer is gone now, yes, but it’s like seeing the light at the end of a tunnel that turns out to be the headlights of an oncoming train.

Now, the bar fills up faster than Australia changes prime ministers, with not even a countdown to warn you. The rush of panic that ensures when the episode finishes, with us leaping around the room, flinging up pillows and blankets trying to stop the endless march of Netflix episodes. This battle has become part of my existence.

And if you can’t find the remote?

You would think that turning the TV off would be enough to stop Netflix, but flick that switch and you’ve made your first grievous mistake. Next time you press that button to continue with your favourite series, be prepared for the spoilers of a lifetime.

Time flies when you’re not actually watching your show, or you fall asleep, and though you were only in season two when you left – now you’re in season seven and suddenly Chandler and Monica are married, Phoebe is living with Rachel, and every episode up until then has been marked with that red line which you now wish ran along Netflix’s throat.

So, Netflix, next time you try and make a bad thing worse?

You can say goodbye to my subscription…

…right after I finish this episode.

– Genevieve Bland


Letter 1

Dear Ex,

“Expectation is the root of all heartbreak” – William Shakespeare

It’s your fault. The unfulfillment of desired change within our relationship, had consequences which YOU chose to experience.

My expectations were never too high, your temerarious disposition was simply toxic and manipulative.

An amicable settlement could have been achieved, but you were overly occupied with criminalising your life, the result being the need for “support” from subordinate girls.

Although my loathe grows strong for you, maybe it’s my fault. My foolishness in believing I could change an unchangeable person is shameful. A true disgrace.

Because my respectfulness is superior, I express my deepest condolences towards the death of Suzy.

I understand the significance she had in emotionally supporting you throughout your childhood. It’s heartbreaking knowing she has passed. Luckily, you have your empty-headed blonde girlfriend to support you. Unfortunately, she will never be as supportive as Suzy. Suzy was a one-of-a-kind dog.

Kind regards,

Hannah

– Hannah Dun


Letter 2

Dear Ex,

Why are you still angry at me? I was never angry at you!

As I sat in such hours obtaining the peace granted by my pardoning, a tranquil heart gave me an understanding beyond reflections of light. Then is when I truly pitied the toil hidden behind your exhibition of power. Under that subservient-casting mane of dignity, are roots of angst which secrete your true disharmony. I am not to blame.

Time bestows you a banquet, yet from such selections you reject liberation: the future. How one deemed with such power, still permits history to consume their happiness is not of my doing. Move on, I care little about you.

Ok, perhaps I have not a tranquil heart, but I still pity you and your obstinate determination to be right. It’s OK, I pardon you; in the end I am right.

I am doing well, healing, moving on. Truly I wish I could say the same about you. But again, once an idiot, always an idiot.

Regards of sorts,

Hannah

– Hannah Dun


Letter 3

Dear Ex,

Petals flourish in their belonging ecosystems. When one claims the clouds from the sky as the result of their selfishness, then is when the plants decay, yet their roots still remain fixated within its share of the earth.

I was swallowed by notions of love, daydreams I wished not to awaken from. However, it was such a noxious notion which derived my ability to distinguish between chemistry and compatibility. My grand fixation on nothing but a notion subordinated my own decay. Suddenly, my decay became literal. Obsessions over your potential to change reigned over the simplest of breaths.

The interruption of my fixation, fought with my comfort yet I created my own clouds. Now my petals are mine, and I am acquainted with the bees. My roots forever extend; forever grow. I am nourished and healed. I belong free in my ecosystem.

Dear Ex,

Thank You,

Hannah

– Hannah Dun

Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, Languages and HSIE

Faculty - Mathematics and Software Design & Development

This term has been seen the introduction of our new Numeracy Tasks for Year 8 students, which will be implemented next year across both Year 8 and 9.

Staff have recorded videos explaining past NAPLAN calculator-based questions, which students watch at the start of each lesson after attempting the question themselves. Students then also participate in collaborative discussions on whiteboard.fi to share NAPLAN non-calculator problem solving strategies.

This term we have also had the pleasure of working with Bernard Pols, a teacher education student from the University of Newcastle, working with Helen Spencer and Cathy Crouch. It’s been an exciting experience to be part of helping new teachers learn about the profession, promote rural education, and showcase the amazing work Aurora does to the next generation of teachers.

We also want to say a huge thank you and farewell to Greta Gaut, Meutia Goodwin and Raymond Montalban, who have made incredible contributions to Aurora College this year and are moving on to new journeys next year. They have been invaluable members of our faculty and will be greatly missed.

All staff have been very busy preparing for next year, and we want to wish all our students a safe and happy school break. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022!

Karen Bellamy | R/Head Teacher Mathematics and Software Design & Development

Faculty - Science and Agriculture

Another year has come to an end and what a year it was!

Our students in science have achieved excellent results this year. All the science teachers commend every single student for their enthusiasm, commitment to learning and camaraderie in the classroom. We, as teachers, highly valued working with all our students, and we hope we have inspired them to move forward in their learning, achieve their true potential and become excellent citizens in their communities.

As this school year is ending, we are looking forward and are planning for 2022. We are excited to receive new students in Year 7 and continue working with the current ones as they move forward to the next steps in their schooling years.

We want to take this opportunity to say a big thank to you all our science practical teachers in our partner schools for their work with our practicals; their dedication and support to our students is highly valued. All our students are performing very well in skills tasks, thanks to all the teaching that our partner school staff do with them.

Welcome and farewell

We are pleased to welcome the new teachers who will be joining the science faculty in 2022. They are: Candice Morris-Grant, Lyle Warren, Alice Leung and Samantha Martin. It is wonderful to know they will be taking up the challenge to teach at Aurora College. The science team is looking forward to working with you all.

Sadly, we say goodbye to Michelle Kirchmajer who has decided to pursue new endeavors in life, and we thank her for her outstanding contributions to our faculty; her enthusiasm and excellence in teaching will be missed. We wish you all the best in your future career.

Student work this term

Genevieve in Year 10, recently completed work experience at Parkes Radio Telescope. During her time there, she was calculating the radius of the orbits of Venus and Mercury. Genevieve said that this opportunity helped her to apply what she has learnt at Aurora College and it ignited her passion for science even further. In Stage 6, Genevieve is planning to study many science subjects with Aurora College.

Below is a copy of some of the calculations that she worked out and a picture of her at ‘The Dish’.

Our students were working on several aspects of the impact of science in society and Year 10 was having a taste of what is involved in senior science subjects.

Year 12 agriculture, biology, chemistry, and physics have nearly finished the first year 12 modules in each subject. All students have realised what it takes to be successful in their HSC exams: organisation, note taking and making good summaries. A good work ethic is crucial for an efficacious HSC study pattern.

Here are some examples of what our students were working on this term:

Year 7

The practical for the last fortnight in Year 7 was about creating a model that represented the relative distance of the planets in the solar system. The idea was to use a toilet paper roll; unroll it and mark the sheets with the relative distances of the planets.

Here are some examples from the students’ work done in their home schools:

Year 8

One of the sets of lessons that Year 8 worked on this term was related to the timeline in agricultural developments. Students were investigating ancient agricultural practices, including Australian Aboriginal agriculture. They had to create a short PPT illustrating the type of plants cultivated by Australian Aboriginal people as food. Below is an example by Chloe Grabia.

 

Year 9

During this term, Year 9 was learning about how the human body responds to sports. One aspect of those lessons was to evaluate the effect of  performance enhancing drugs in the human body.

Here are some of the opinions of our Year 9 students:

Year 10

Year 10 has been working on Stage 6 taster activities in science. These activities are developed to enhance and contextualise the students’ understanding and enjoyment of the sciences offered in Years 11 and 12. We have been working on bioethics and emerging technologies and so far, we have had some great detailed conversations and the students have produced some excellent analysis of current and prominent issues.

Here are some examples of students’ work related to working with animals in research:

And this is an excellent recount by Paulo Maribao about emerging accidental discoveries in science:

Finally, the science faculty wishes all our students and their families a wonderful festive season and a well deserved holiday. Take care everyone and stay safe. We will see you in 2022.

Dr Silvia Rudmann | R/Head Teacher Science and Agriculture

Residential - Term 1 2022

The Term 1 2022 Residential School will be held at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen (Year 7, 9, 10) and Uniting Venues Elanora (Year 6, 8) from Monday 28 February 2022 to Friday 4 March 2022.

Please note: In accordance with NSW Department of Education guidelines, students will be temperature tested when boarding buses. If students have a high temperature or are displaying flu like symptoms then they will not be permitted to attend residential. Students arriving by plane/private vehicle will be tested upon disembarking/arrival and if found to have a temperature or flu like symptoms, will be isolated and arrangements made for parent/guardian to collect the child.

All information regarding the residential can also be seen on the Aurora College website under the latest news tab found here: https://aurora.nsw.edu.au/latest-news/

Further information is available in the booklet found at https://aurora.nsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Aurora-Residential-Information-2022-R1.pdf

In this booklet, there will be a number of steps to complete, including:

  • Permission note (All year groups)
  • Student information google form (All year groups)
  • Sydney Sport and Recreation medical and consent form (All year groups)
  • Manly Surf School indemnity form (Year 9 only)

If you have any questions, please contact the school at auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Connor Boyko | R/Head Teacher Teaching & Learning

Webinars and Masterclasses

Author Tristan Bancks delivered masterclasses this term and inspired us all to start writing. Some of his tips for writing a successful book were quite unique and will set our students on the path to making their writing more engaging. We heard about the news stories that inspired two of his most successful books and personal experiences that are woven into all his stories.

When asked about writers block and staying motivated, Tristan shared some unusual strategies that he uses to keep his writing flowing. He spoke of music soundtracks unique to each book that he compiles and listens to whilst writing, collages of visual stimuli related to the story, and writing using different formats (electronic notes, typewriter, PC, hand written notes and voice recordings are just some of the formats he uses). He also advocated taking your writing outdoors and pitching your story ideas to others to gauge their viability and improve on the concepts.

Many student questions were addressed during the presentation including the following:

“What insipired you to get into writing?” – Anna W, Stephanie D, Tilly T, Penny L, and PinLing W all asked this question.

Tristan was initially inspired by his great great uncle (Jimmy Bancks) who was the author of the Ginger Meggs books, first written in 1921. This inspiration and interest in writing for a living was then nurtured and encouraged by several key teachers in his school years.

“How long does it take for a novel to get written and published?” – Lance S

Every book is unique but to give us an idea, Tristan told us that “Two Wolves” was five years in the making. He writes at least five drafts before his editor first reads the book, and then there are always lots of improvements suggested. Once the book is finally with the publisher, a designer is then employed to create the book cover and other elements, like position of illustrations, are decided. It was obvious from the Masterclass that no one should be disheartened by having to keep rewriting and improving their creative pieces and that it is a long, sometimes painful process.

“What inspired you to write the book ‘Two Wolves’? Was it based on a personal experience?” – Amelia M, and Stephanie D

“Two Wolves” was inspired by a real life news event in New Zealand. After seeing the story, Tristan kept wondering what it would be like to be the child picked up from school early to go on a “holiday” which then turned into evading capture for breaking the law. Interestingly the title was changed four times before the final title was chosen.

To finish off an entertaining hour, Tristan shared with us his top 5 writing tips:

  1. Read a lot
  2. Write every day
  3. Be kind to yourself
  4. Find yourself in the story
  5. Rewrite and rewrite

And some wisdom: “Don’t let fear stop you from putting yourself out there – have faith in your idea and your ability.”

Lisa Lieschke | Teacher Librarian

Student Support - Library

Aurora College Reading Challenge

In April, our students were offered the chance to complete a reading challenge by the previous Teacher Librarian, Mrs Taylor. The challenge was to read a book in each of the following categories before the closing date:

  1. Read a book considered to be a “classic”
  2. Read a book of poetry – verse novels can be used
  3. Read a book published in 2020
  4. Read a book from one of the following award lists:
    1. CBCA Book of the Year
    2. KOALABook awards
    3. Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
  5. Read a book by an Australian author
  6. Read a book written by your favourite author
  7. Read a book that someone has recommended to you
  8. Ready a book that is illustrated (picture book, non-fiction, artwork, comic, manga, graphic novel, etc)
  9. Read a book that is the FIRST in a series
  10. Read a book by an author you have met (IRL or online) such as Gus Gordon, Melinda Marchette, JC Burke, Will Kostakis, Matthew Lin, Steven Herrick, Phil Lesnie, Libby Hathorn, Tristan Bancks, Dorian Mode, Dr Karl, Adam Spencer, etc

It is my pleasure to congratulate seven students who achieved this feat in 2021:

  • Elizabeth Butcherine
  • Hayley Fraser
  • Amelie Paech
  • Marianna Smith
  • Elizabeth Ewers
  • Emma King
  • Maya Roze

The students received Astras, certificates and book vouchers as a reward for their persistence in completing this challenge in 2021. Well done readers!

All students should look out for the next reading challenge which will be announced in Teams before the summer break. It will be a holiday themed summer reading challenge.

Lisa Lieschke | Teacher Librarian

Student Support - Careers

Career as a green architect

The focus of green architects is on sustainable design and is one of the emerging careers – a job that has only recently come about.

A green building architect designs a building by keeping in mind:

  • increased energy efficiency – using renewable energy such as solar or wind
  • using sustainable materials, for example recycled materials
  • decreasing waste
  • and integrating a building into the surrounding environment.

The aim of a green building architect is to reduce the impacts on human health and the environment.

A similar role is that of a Retrofit Expert – where existing buildings are made more sustainable by improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

Changes to Student Contributions towards University Degrees

When Australian students go to university they are eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), whereby the Australian Government pays some of the university fees and the student pays the rest. This is called the ‘Student contribution amount’. Commencing in January 2021, new student contribution bands and ranges have been introduced:

Student Contribution Band 2021 Maximum
Band 4 Law, Accounting, Administration, Economics, Commerce, Communications, Society and Culture $14,500
Band 3 Dentistry, Medicine, Veternary Science $11,300
Band 2 Other Health, Allied Health, Built Environment, Computing, Engineering, Surveying, Science, Environmental Studies, Pathology, Visual and Performing Arts, Professional Pathway Psychology, Professional Pathway Social Work $7,950
Band 1 Agriculture, English, Mathematics, Education, Clinical Psychology, Indigenous and Foreign Languages, Nursing, Statistics $3,950

All amounts are based on EFTSL (equivalent full time student load) of a unit, so the standard annual amount the student has to pay.

Students are encouraged to browse Study Assist (https://www.studyassist.gov.au/help-loans-commonwealth-supported-places-csps/student-contribution-amounts) to familiarise themselves with the costs of university study.

Domestic exchange program

World Education Program (WEP) Australia is excited to announce the launch of our new domestic exchange program, YEA! (Youth Exchange Australia).

While Australia’s international borders remain closed, YEA! offers Australian students the opportunity to broaden their horizons through a leadership focused domestic exchange program. Visit https://wep.org.au/student-exchange/ for more information.

Careers in criminology

Criminologists examine the systems by which people accused of crimes are brought to justice, attempt to explain the reasons for criminal behaviour and suggest ways crime might be reduced. They:

  • study the ways certain criminal justice agencies operate including the law courts, police services, prisons and community-based correction centres
  • provide information about crime and the ways in which people are processed by the criminal justice system
  • compile crime statistics and develop ways in which crime solving resources can be best used.

What type of person becomes a criminologist?

  • Someone who has analytical ability
  • Someone with personal integrity
  • Someone interested in welfare and human behaviour
  • Someone interested in working with disadvantaged groups

Visit the Australian Institute of Criminology (https://www.aic.gov.au/) to find out more.

What is engineering?

The term ‘engineering’ covers many fields and, by extension, many skills. Engineers are scientists, inventors, designers, builders and great thinkers. They improve the state of the world, amplify human capability and make people’s lives safer and easier.

There are so many different types of engineering, and students are encouraged to browse the following link, and also watch the useful YouTube clips available at that link.

Engineers Australia – Types of Engineering (https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/For-Students-And-Educators/Engineering-Careers/What-Is-Engineering)

Kim Morris | Careers Advisor

Student Support - Administration

As this year draws to a close, we can all breath a sigh of relief. We have had some very turbulent times. After Residential Camp 1, we were plunged into lockdown in Sydney. Most of us were working from home which had benefits but also drawbacks. We then returned to ‘normalcy’ until July.

At this time we had to move to our permanent address and Greater Sydney was plunged into lockdown. This meant most of our staff worked from home for the whole of Term 3 and did not have an opportunity of enjoying the benefits of our own space. We eventually reunited 3 weeks into Term 4, and so far, so good. Our teaching studios are proving to be a big hit with our staff, and the fact that we actually have a kitchen and lunch room is also a bonus.

Our office hours are 8.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. You can contact us by telephone on 1300 287 629 or email auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au.

We wish all our current and new families a very merry Christmas and here’s hoping 2022 is the ‘best year ever’.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager

Community - Student Achievement

Aurora College and Hay War Memorial High School Year 12 student, Ben, recently enjoyed an amazing adventure sailing on the tall ship STS Young Endeavour. Ben experienced five days at sea, sailing between Sydney and Jervis Bay, undertaking sailing and seamanship training, mast climbs, night watches and loads of fun with his fellow youth crew members. Unfortunately, the ten day voyage was cut short when the ship sustained damage to the dolphin striker and needed to return to base for urgent maintenance. Nonetheless, it was an experience of a lifetime and one that Ben looks forward to repeating in the future.

We would like to pay our respects and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.

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Aurora College is a NSW Public School, a part of the NSW Department of Education.

Phone 1300 287 629
Email auroracoll-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au
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