Bunbury Senior High School - WA SECONDARY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR 2019

There must be something in the water in Bunbury, with the namesake secondary school no stranger to the WA Education Awards. The relaxed coastal lifestyle of sunshine and surf is producing some serious talent. With finalists in the mix over recent years for Beginning Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year, it’s no wonder the high school took out the top gong for WA Secondary School of the Year this year. Seeing students at Bunbury Senior High School consistently achieve high results in academic, sport and the arts, is the secret to success long walks by the beach and excessive consumption of vitamin D, or is a more measured approach the elixir? We talk to Principal Craige Pettit to find out. “We take risks to do the best we can for the children in our school. It takes a long time for a school to have the courage to do things differently and that is what makes us stand out,” Craige explains. As well as the impressive view and welcoming atmosphere, the school prides itself on ensuring all students have the confidence and belief in themselves to give them the best opportunity for their future once they have graduated. “The other aspect of academic achievement is the achievement of every student in the school,” Craige says. “Not all students will get to be at the front of an assembly to receive an academic award, but every student is capable of doing their best.” The school employs three full-time student support workers who are dedicated to student welfare and wellbeing. This approach is clearly paying dividends as encapsulated in their Head Girl’s recent valedictory speech, “At Bunbury, as students, we are so immensely fortunate to have so many people who wake up every morning and dedicate their lives to making our lives better.” With the school an ingrained and iconic part of the Bunbury community for more than 100 years, it has produced some remarkable leaders, including Lieutenant General John Murray Sanderson AC (former WA Governor), David Sherwood (Rhode Scholar), Melissa Parke (International Lawyer for the United Nations and former Member of Parliament), John Castrilli (former Mayor of Bunbury and Member of Parliament) as well as Sydney Jackson (twice Victorian Football League premiership player). Sporting achievement isn’t by accident with the school placing a high value on their sport programs. “Our Bunbury Elite Sports Training specialist program, coordinated by Adam McGill, aims to support students to become the best athlete they can be, regardless of their chosen sport,” Craige says. “This program is unique and has achieved outstanding results, using contemporary sport science methods, highly engaging training equipment, and world-standard athlete-development principles.” From the outset it is clear that Craige’s belief is that the school has a particular thirst to create a learning environment that ensures no student is ever left behind. “Our school values challenge us as teachers and leaders to examine how we are addressing every child’s needs in the school,” he says. “We continuously have high academic, sporting and cultural achievement but no student is left out and we use our resources to ensure every child has the opportunity to achieve their best.”

It is hard to argue with these students

Bunbury Senior High School has been crowned the South West regional junior debating champions after defeating Bunbury Catholic College at ECU South West on August 16 in the grand final of the Western Australian Debating League Regional Competition. The victory marks the school’s second win in the competition, following success in 2016, as well as a second place last year. “We thought we’d get into semis, but we didn’t know about getting into grands,” Year 9 team member Penelope Delaporte said. The competition comprises five rounds plus a finals round and grand final, with students being given roughly two weeks to prepare for each debate before the prep time is slashed to just one week for the semis and grand final. The topic of this year’s grand final was the privatisation of prisons, with the BSHS team arguing against the notion. “It was pretty close, their second speaker was really, really good,” Penelope said. This year’s victory was especially rich as Year 9 student Amelie Gates was awarded the ZONTA International Trophy for best female speaker, an award decided upon by the Western Australian Debating League’s senior adjudicator panel. “I was surprised,” Amelie said. “I don’t know how to feel, my family are very proud.”

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)

Trip is two dreams in one for SWAS hockey star

Bunbury SHS student and South West hockey star Georgina Dowd will live out two of her dreams at the same time this week when she jets out to South Africa to represent Australia in an international tour. The gun teenage striker is part of School Sport Australia’s All Australian Girls Hockey Team that will step onto the international stage to take on teams in Cape Town and Durban. Her selection to the touring squad is the result of a head-turning performance at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide last year, where she impressed selectors as captain of the State under-16s team that was third and she also earned the title of WA’s Most Valuable Player in the process. “I’ve actually wanted to go to South Africa and Africa, and to play for Australia. And to get both at the same time, is really cool,” Georgina said. “It is an incredible honour and opportunity to play with girls from all over Australia who are at such a high level and this will hopefully help to prepare me for the selection trials for the State under-18s team in 2019 as well as being an experience of a lifetime.” The tour of South Africa will involve not only hockey matches, but also educational, humanitarian and sightseeing elements. Visits to Robben Island, Duiker Island, Table Mountain, Shakaland, a traditional Zulu umuzi or homestead, and LIV Village – a foster care project benefiting orphaned children – are all on the itinerary for the tour. The Harvey resident, who attends Bunbury Senior High School, and is an athlete in the South West Academy of Sport, has a track record of competing at a high level. Georgina has donned the black and gold colours of Western Australia for under-13, 15, 16 and 18 teams in the past. She thanked the Towns Souths Hockey Club and South West Strikers and said the support she had received from the clubs and the South West Academy of Sport had been invaluable. “It’s been amazing,” she said. “Just the extra coaching and experience from Lawrie Tylor and Russell Harvie. “They’ve just been amazing over the past few years.”

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


A group of Bunbury SHS students spent a Friday night flexing their problem-solving skills earlier this month at the annual Have Sum Fun mathematics competition. The event was held at Bunbury Catholic College where teams of students from Years 7-10 worked together to solve a series of difficult questions. Schools at this year’s challenge included Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, Grace Christian School, Bunbury Senior High School, Australind Senior High School and Frederick Irwin Anglican School from Mandurah. Bunbury Senior High School took home the top award for the Year 9 and Year 10 division which Program Coordinator of Mathematics Tyril Houghton said was a great achievement. “There was quite a lot of pressure but the kids enjoy the competition,” she said. “It was just fantastic to see the collaboration and as a public school, it was a great feeling to have won.” Year 9 student Norah Harkin said the team felt triumphant over their win. “It’s an eye-opening competition for academically gifted students so we’re all devoted to maths and it was even better feeling when we were announced as number one,” she said.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


This book was an 18 month long project for local author, Graham Houghton, and was launched at our recent centenary celebrations. "I had to slowly filter through all the information, connect the dots, make a connection and focus on a story," Mr Houghton said. “The story I’m telling is the school’s impact on the South West from the early 1920s. “It influenced the socio-economic fabric of the region over the three decades by providing educational, competitive sporting and cultural opportunities.”

In 1918, the State Government established in Bunbury, the first High School to serve the students of the South West region. Bunbury High School (later Bunbury Senior High School) has a proud history stretching over one hundred years and this book tells some of that story. It is a celebration of education. The School provided not only State secondary educational opportunities. For some decades following its establishment it also provided the few competitive sporting opportunities and cultural opportunities to the youth of the region. It has continued providing those opportunities in a myriad of ways up to the present day. No matter what difficulties and challenges have been encountered over the years, the education ‘job was getting done!’

This wonderful book is available for purchase from our school administration for $40.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


Two Bunbury Senior High School students are fast becoming hockey stars in the outdoor and indoor versions of the game. Megan Roberts, and Indee Elphick, both 15, are heading to Goulburn, New South Wales, in January for the Australian Indoor Hockey Festival at the Veolia Arena, where they will compete against some of the country’s best. Megan said she had represented WA in the under-15 field hockey team and was excited to try her hand at State representation in the indoor form of the game. Her father fed her a love of the indoor game and was her greatest support, building a team from the South West to compete in Perth, which has helped grow her skills. “He got a team together and got me to play,” she said. The striker said she hoped to score some goals and get into the Australian team. “I just really want to play well,” she said. Indee said he enjoyed playing outdoor hockey for WA and hoped he would have the same experience this time around. “I hope to develop my hockey skills,” he said. “I want to work on my dribbling skills and score a few goals.” Indee said the indoor game was more physical and focused on “one-on-one” contests. “It is about mental strength as well to try to keep up with the ball,” he said. Megan and Indee will continue to train ahead of the upcoming championships.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


Bunbury Senior High School Year 8 student Indy Duffy brought home a national award for her digital art piece Above The Sea. As well as being a talented Visual Arts Specialist Program (VASP) student at Bunbury Senior High School, Year 8 student Indy Duffy works on a string of projects. With her talent earning her accolades in exhibitions like Iluka Visions, Indy’s latest piece Above The Sea won her a national award at the 2017 Young Australian Art Awards in the Computer Art category for middle school. VASP program coordinator and head of the arts learning area, Paul Reynolds, said Indy was talented and had succeeded in a variety of areas. “We try to give the kids plenty of opportunities to try as many different things in the visual arts as possible,” Mr Reynolds said. “Indy is a great example of great, young talent.” Drawing some inspiration from a Pokemon character, the key motivation for her latest award-winning piece was simply a love for art. Using a WACOM tablet to draw the piece at home and then transferring it onto a computer, Indy said it was one of her first digital artworks. It took about two weeks to create. “Once I was done with the piece, I brought it to school to show Mr Reynolds,” Indy said. “He knew of a digital art section in a national competition so we just entered it.” Having heard she won the national award, Indy was “happy and excited” for her art to be recognised as well as having the opportunity to travel to Melbourne a fortnight ago to accept her prize. “It was my second time being on a plane so the whole experience was really fun,” she said. With other sections of the competition including Indigenous, traditional drawing and painting and photography art, Indy also congratulated other artists on their efforts and entries. Hoping to forge a career in digital game designing or movie animation in the future, Indy said she was prepared to spend lots of time and practise in developing her talent.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


Kerrilee Haberfield, Year 11, went in 2015 Hannah Thomas, year 9 going this year Emma Lush, year 10, went in 2016 Emma Patterson, year 10 2016/2017 Bunbury Senior High School Year 9 student Hannah Thomas will follow in the footsteps of three of her peers after being selected as part of the Curious Minds Program due to her excellent maths NAPLAN scores. The program will see 54 Year 8 and Year 9 girls from around Australia visit the University of Sydney for the summer school program and enable them to explore all aspects of science, technology, engineering and maths through guest lectures, interactive sessions, practicals and field trips. They will be mentored by female scientists and mathematicians with the aim to develop a love of these disciplines and to encourage the students to continue with these courses into higher education and beyond. Hannah follows Emma Patterson and Emma Lush in 2016 and Kerrilie Haberfield in 2015. “The highlight of the trip for me was meeting people who work in STEM jobs and are so passionate about what they do,” Emma Patterson said. “The love they show for their jobs is so inspirational and encouraged me to find a job where I am as passionate about my work as they are.” Hannah said she was “a little afraid but mostly excited” to be selected and had already sought advice from her peers. “I think the best part will be seeing all the scientists and getting inspiration from them,” she said.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)


The WA Junior Mathematics Olympiad tested the problem-solving skills of students across the State last month. Held via satellite for South West schools, Bunbury Senior High School’s team of Karrak Gregory, Norah Harkin, Kaitlyn Myles and Jacob Van Noort scored top prize for the Year 8 category. Aiming to identify the most gifted mathematics students in the State, the West Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad tested the problem-solving skills of those in Years 7, 8 and 9. Held simultaneously with the metropolitan competition at UWA, South West schools congregated at the satellite venue Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School for a 100 minute individual paper and 45 minute team quiz. “Watching the students network with other young mathematicians, make new friends and solve problems together was a real buzz,” South West Mathematics Association President Tyril Houghton said. Bunbury Senior High School and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School scored the most wins with each school faring the best in both individual and team categories.

(Picture: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times)

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