Year 7 is exciting and challenging but can also be daunting for some students. For every Year 7 there are many ‘firsts’, including the first class, first new friend, first carnival, first assessment. There are also many changes that students need to adjust to, including the variety of different teachers and classrooms, which are spread across a large campus. Students also carry their bag to each class, however, students at St Paul’s have access to a locker which can assist with the storage of books and other equipment.
There are several new subjects for students to experience, including Languages, practical Science classes, and Technology classes, such as Food Technology, Woodwork and Textiles. Students will find that they are in some subjects with the same group of students, which assists them in getting to know their peers. Though it may seem daunting to begin with, students quickly adapt to their new timetable and the location of each classroom.
With a larger cohort, comes new friends and new social situations and challenges. Sometimes students may need help navigating interactions with others and our Peer Mediation program sees Year 11 students trained and active in assisting Year 7 students if required. Year 11 students are also Transport Monitors that assist new students. Year 10 students also help Year 7 in transitioning to their new surrounds through the Peer Support Program. Two Year 10 Peer Support Leaders will have a small group of Year 7’s and in this program new friends are encouraged as well as acceptance of all.
Students have access to a range of many supports who will assist them throughout the year. These include the Year 7 Coordinator, Pastoral Care Worker and School Counsellor who work collaboratively at St Paul’s Catholic College to maintain a safe and supportive environment for our students. These staff members can be found in the Student Hub, along with Learning Support, Book hire and IT Support (and comfy bean bags!). The Student Hub is situated at the centre of the school and fittingly demonstrates that student well-being is a priority in our community.
Homework and study are different experiences to primary school, with each subject having specific requirements. These requirements will be clearly explained and distributed to students in their respective classes as different tasks and activities occur. St Paul’s also subscribes to some online curricular and study supports, including Education Perfect and a Study Skills Information and Support Program. Login details are provided to students at the commencement of their enrolment and throughout newsletters. A student diary is an excellent tool to assist students in their organisation and time management and it is recommended that Year 7 students purchase one to aid and assist them as they begin to navigate the demands of high school. St Paul’s also has complimentary Term Planners available for students to use at home. These can be found in the Student Hub.
Year 7 students have the opportunity to experience and participate in a number of extra-curricular activities. These include a myriad of sporting events such as the annual Athletics and Swimming Carnivals, to a variety of representative sport including Rugby League, Touch Football, Netball, Cross Country and Water Polo. Students are also strongly encouraged to engage in the cultural events that are on offer at St Paul’s including Splendour in the Arts, Book Week, inter-school Public Speaking and Debating, Diosounds and Aspire. Community events such as the Opening School Mass, St Paul’s Day, Year 7 Community Days and a variety of charity and fund-raising days are also integral ways in which a sense of community and belonging is fostered and strengthened. Some Year 7 students are also invited to share their experiences with next year’s cohort through participation in the Orientation Program. Many of these activities are unique to high school and St Paul’s Catholic College and students are encouraged to be confident and courageous when sharing and demonstrating their own unique gifts and talents in the St Paul’s community.
Year 7 is fun, busy and a great challenge!
Mrs Belinda Dempsey