The room was bursting with sounds of cheerful laughter, lively conversation and party horns being blown with uninterrupted zeal, as students and teachers gathered to celebrate the first birthday of the school.
The BUSY Schools Salisbury campus opened on May 19th of 2021, with just 11, Year 11 students. Almost half the school year had passed, and these first students found themselves completing an entire Year 11 syllabus in just over 6 months.
A year later, these students are just a few of the 121 students currently enrolled at The BUSY Schools, Salisbury campus. Since commencing, they have completed certificates in either construction or workplace skills, acquired first aid training, white cards, or RSAs, and—in just over 6 months, they will become The BUSY Schools Salisbury’s inaugural graduating class of 2022.
After a satisfying sausage sizzle, partygoers gathered for speeches prepared by some of their teachers and peers. Students spoke of how they struggled with the culture of traditional schools before moving to The BUSY Schools, while others spoke of how the teachers at The BUSY Schools gave them the confidence to try subjects they previously considered themselves failures in.
“Learning math is important…but whether you pass or fail, that doesn’t affect your value as a human…” their math teacher asserted. This statement sums up what so many students seemed to appreciate about The BUSY Schools Salisbury—a space where they feel valued and accepted for who they are.
Founding student, Mackenzie, had some advice for his fellow students: “I think this school is pretty good. I don’t know if all of you agree. I don’t care if all of you agree. But you’re all here now so get through it, and you’ll thank yourself for it later.”
After the speeches, a special ceremony took place—the introduction and naming of BUSY BEE, The BUSY Schools Salisbury’s new mascot. Students had placed their ideas for names into a hat, with suggestions such as Bazza and Jaquaviontavious among the contenders, and the crowd waited with bated breath as Principal, Liza Page, reached into the hat and picked out the winner—Michael with his BUSY BEE entry.
The crowd burst into laughter, and the smiles stayed on their faces as they ate a delicious cake—baked and beautifully decorated by their talented classmate, Jen. This was followed by rounds of classic party games. As some students guided their blindfolded friends through a makeshift obstacle course, others tried, and mostly failed, to Pin the Stinger on the Bee. An especial crowd-pleaser was Donut on a String, where teachers, from their perch on top of the stairs, dangled donuts above the heads of their students, who attempted to eat them without the use of their hands.
“Today was insane” grins Xero, who moved to The BUSY Schools for Year 11. “Also, it was a pretty fun thing to do.”
The BUSY Schools is a unique environment where students who have disengaged or are at risk of disengaging from traditional schooling can continue to work towards their QCE with support and understanding while finding their pathway to future employment.
“I actually dropped out of school early, in the middle of Year 11” confesses Liza, Principal of The BUSY Schools, Salisbury, “I wished there was a school like this, so this really captures my passion.”
“We have these people watching our backs so we don’t fall” declared Aaliyah, a founding student of The BUSY Schools, Salisbury.
To students in mainstream schools who are finding themselves disengaging with their education, Year 11 student, Matthew, recommends making a change: “This school makes me want to come to school, and try, and actually put effort into my work. So come to The BUSY Schools. It will change things.”
In its first year, The BUSY Schools, Salisbury has supported the future education and employment direction of over 120 students who were otherwise unlikely to have completed senior school — and that is certainly worth the celebration.
Students and staff celebrated the first year milestone for The BUSY Schools Salisbury campus.